The waning days of summer are a confusing time for wardrobes. People don all kinds of combinations: Trench-coats and sandals, shorts and parkas, tank tops and fleece pants. It’s the time of year where you’re in between what was and what is to be.
While there are plenty of days of sunlight left, many outdoor movies and festivals to attend, and many barbecues to indulge in before summer truly ends, there is a comfort is knowing that the change in season is around the corner. I relish in the rain tapping at my window as I sleep at night and the almost-but-not-quite suffocating warmth of coffee shops full of wet scarves and seasonal drinks.
The transition from summer to autumn is special. it’s a time when we gear up to get out of holiday mode. When I was in school, there was a special feeling that came with the thought of reinventing yourself for a new year. Though the reinvention most of the time involved getting new jeans.
Transitions - any transitions - place us in a strange world between the nostalgia of old and the springy newness of what’s ahead. There come so many lasts which leave us silently and lightly mourning, while not knowing what’s quite ahead.
But that also happens to be the beauty of transitions. They are heavy with the unexplored and undesigned. They herald in new eyes and ears and doing things differently. Even if in the fall that simply means new soup recipes. We can revel in the idea that we will somehow act differently and embrace all of it wholeheartedly.
When we transition - seasons, relationships, our own being, we carry along the past with us, though it looks very different. We are taking with us, the sometimes-heavy somethings into what is to be. In doing that, we are asking our past to transform with us - please would you change as I change. To look just a little bit different, so we can make room for what hasn’t quite taken place. And sometimes the past cooperates. And sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes it’s better if it doesn’t.
This morning, I walked in the crisp late summer air to the library a few blocks from where I work to drop off a book. As I did, I recalled that this is the last time I’ll be walking to the library before I go away to get married. It seems inconsequential but in some ways profound: to think that the every day act will have somehow transformed into something else in a month’s time. The act itself won’t change. Everything around it might. Perhaps I’ll be picking up a book for my to-be husband. Perhaps he’ll have driven me there. Perhaps he’ll be working from nearby and we’ll stop for coffee. Perhaps, perhaps…
The to-be is undefined and sometimes unrefined - rough-hewn and itchy. And sometimes we mix up our personhoods in trying to define it before it is ready to happen. But just like the change in season, we ought to, I think, let it come slowly. We can wrap ourselves in its being when it arrives. Like a warm scarf on that first day of autumn when the chill is more or less here to stay, thank goodness.
Some things to think about:
Anne Lamott on Love, Despair and Change on Brainpickings
A cover of “Changes” by Seu Jorge