We are days into August, yet autumn seems to be settling in to our ever- busy rural hamlet. The leaves on the towering tree across the road and our maple in the backyard have both begun their colorful transformations. In the evenings as I sit on the porch journaling, I watch them leap from limbs, quietly cascading one after another along the gentle, crisp breeze, only to settle on the rich green grass below.
I love fall. The way the world turns inside out--life heaves a sigh of relief at having survived another sweltering summer; then gathers all its strength and courage together to bid ado to the long, humid, bright days with a brilliant array of hues like only fall can produce.
I feel the changing seasons differently this year, as we count down the final two weeks until our move to New Jersey on the 21st. So many emotions are rambling through my mind tonight. I am thrilled, ecstatic really to be moving back to the coast, after being away from CA for the past 24 years. My love affair with water, particularly the ocean, is one that began when I was a little bitty running barefoot through the river in the quaint logging town nestled in the foothills of CA's Sierra Nevada mountains where my grandparents spent most of their lives.
I have few actual memories of my childhood, but the longing in my heart and soul to be near the ocean has grown deeper with each passing season of life. While in CA, I visited the ocean and boardwalks when visiting my relatives in the bay area. The abstracts I recollect of these times are some of the best of my childhood.
On our first trip to New Jersey this May, tears filled my eyes as we walked along the boardwalk. I lifted my hands up and rubbed my fingers together, telling everyone that the air just feels gritty at the ocean. As soon as the scent hit my nose, I felt like I had returned home. The sand was coarse and a bit chilly as I ran to the shoreline, the waves frigid as they lapped at my bare feet and legs. I stood, eyes closed, mind quiet, body reconnecting with my long lost love. There is just something about the ocean--its simple beauty, its vast presence, its exhilarating energy. I could not seem to breathe in enough of it no matter how long I stayed or how many times we have returned since that first reunion.
I look forward to the new life we are embarking on with our move to New Jersey, but my heart is heavy with the reality that we will be leaving family, friends, our entire life behind. So as I sit and watch the seasons begin to change, I feel akin to this fall for I (we) too are preparing a goodbye--to NY, our loved ones, the life we have had for decades (or in my hubby's case, all 35 years of his life)--and watching one season of our lives transform into another.
I would love to pretend that I have not shed any tears, that I have not questioned God's intent with this move, that I have not felt overwhelmed by the changes that our move is going to bring. I have never been good at lying, so I will spare you my lame attempt, and instead admit that this change has been a difficult, stressful one for all of us.
If I were a leaf, I would surely be the one hanging onto to the last ripe branch for dear life, only to gaze longingly at the beautiful tapestry of colors on the ground below me as my fellow jumpers patiently waited for me to muster the courage to join them below. It is now after midnight and the fan still whirs, now muting the soft snores my husband emits from his burrow below our cozy quilt.
I do not have all the answers to life, let alone my own questions. I do not know what God has in store for us with this move. I only know that I (we) prayed a long time and God's answer was very clearly that we move to the Jersey shore. Every detail, every trip, every decision was made precisely such that we could not doubt or second-guess the path that was being laid out before us.
So, as I prepare to head to bed, and rest up for a day of yard sale-ing (we have been avid yard salers for years now), I leave (no pun intended) you with one final ponderance. What does fall mean to you? Is it a time to step back, pause, reflect upon the past spring and summer? Do you look forward to the slowing down of time, the cooling of the air, the brilliance of the colors all around you? Or do you dread the upcoming winter with its shedding of all cover, the freezing of all the earth, the frigid, raw baring of its soul?