In which she muses on change.

We’ve had lovely cool weather the past few days – very Septemberish, not August-ish at all. Downright chilly when we first wake up, crisp by mid-morning, warm verging to hot at the afternoon peak but easing off again quickly to a pleasant evening. I’ve been dressing myself in jeans, and digging out a few items from the Bean’s fall wardrobe to dress her warmly enough for the mornings.

As recently as two weeks ago – late July? – I was still counting up how many weeks of summer were left to us, reassuring myself that there was still a solid month and more before school starts and I return to my full workweek and we fold up summer and put it away for next year. And now we get this little foretaste of fall and – it tastes good. I kind of want more. I love jeans and apples and sleeping under blankets and cool mornings. There are things to anticipate and appreciate about sending G back to school in a few weeks. The end of summer no longer feels dreadful.

I’ve long been fascinated by the slow alchemy of emotions. The way, so often, we’re ready for things by the time they come around. The end of a vacation. A change in season. The end of a school year, even a great one. Weaning my children – I never thought I’d be ready, and then I was, gracefully and gratefully, with only a few tears. Accepting that our old dog is, in fact, old – I fought off that idea for a couple of years and now, well, there she is, our creaky old lady. Letting my little kid begin to become a big kid, and my baby begin to become a little kid.

Not everything works like this, of course. But the kinds of changes and losses that are somehow within the scope of normal human existence, of an essentially happy and blessed life… so often, seen on the horizon, they seem a great and threatening shadow, darkening the whole landscape; but as you approach it becomes clear that all that was only a trick of perspective and light. The looming shadow turns human-scale and ordinary, a kind-faced stranger or even a friend, and you greet in passing and walk on.

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