Well, we’re finding a rhythm, that’s all. Summer is melting away as we’re welcoming fall and this is the time of year I run around the house furiously sharpening pencils and cooking with cinnamon. I like summer, I like the heat, and yet, the moment I spot a yellowing leaf, any twitch left in my hand from an anxious season of wringing just kind of disappears.
While we were in Ecuador, the tomatoes died. We returned home after a red-eye flight to a container garden overflowing with crispy leaves and bruised fruit and a mother-in-law shaking her head. I just could not water them enough. It has been so dry.
This summer, for me, has been a little dry. I accepted a project that brings both great joy and great stress and I have allowed myself to believe that one is greater than the other. That joy must arrive apart from stress, and that surely the tension I feel means I have chosen the wrong thing? I shouldn’t have accepted this, right? It’s too big, too hard, too ill-timed?
I have spent days too tired to play, nights too tired to cook. I have spent early mornings up with the birds, before the sun, feeling a bit like a hunted down worm, chasing words before the birds could catch them and they’d fly far, far away.
But then, today, I saw the first yellow leaf. I am turning a corner on the project and the trees are turning a different hue, and the air has felt clean and light. Crisp, even.
A few days ago, we spent the entire day at home. We hunkered down, we read books, we danced in the kitchen, we pickled a few remaining cucumbers and rock collected around the neighborhood. There was a chill in the air, enough to grab my wool hat, and I felt like if I could just grip the tiniest piece of that chill – if I could just find it and tug at it like the very beginning of the Saran wrap roll – then it might all unravel and we’d fall into the new season altogether unbruised, still in tact.
When we came home from our walk with Bee’s backpack full of stones, we checked on the tomatoes. They had all wilted, even after our feeble attempts to offer them water, sun, rest.
That’s OK, Bee had said. I’m into apples now.
Transitions are hard for me. I want to force them, to speed them, to snap my fingers and be done with the whole process. Summer to fall, fall to winter, all in a matter of tidy moments.
But it’s not yet time. The sun is still high in the sky, the grass still green, the leaves still lush. The tomatoes have gone, but the strawberries, the cucumbers, the basil – they’re still here. They still need water.
This morning, I pulled on my favorite striped dress and switched out the sandals for my fall clogs. It was a small transition, a tiny observation that another season is closing and a new one will soon begin.
It felt a little like acceptance. It felt like an announcement of “and,” like a declaration that life can be both summer and fall, both dry and watered, both wilting and blooming and everything between.
It felt like both. The mourning of tomatoes, the celebration of apples. The hot, the cold, the wool, the stripes, the summer, the fall, the beginning of the end of the beginning.
Here’s to the season we’re in, and the one to come. Here’s to the middle, the “and,” the both.
Here’s to all of it.
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