Today was gorgeous...clear, blue skies and cool breezes. Even though it may be the same temperature as a mid-spring day, everything feels like autumn. Just five months ago, the Light and Greenness seemed so much more assertive--triumphantly running through the house, throwing open windows and airing out the dark, dusty spaces. Now, they slip quietly from room to room, pulling down the sun-stained shades and covering the furniture with faded sheets.
I do not want fall to come this year.
Generally, by Labor Day, I am arguing with myself about whether it’s too early to hang my leaf and berry wreath. I enjoy carefully wrapping up my shell collection in crumpled pink Kleenex. Switching out my candles and tea towels for the new season makes me predictably, ridiculously happy. Normally, I embrace change wholeheartedly. Normally, I look forward to these tiny traditions.
This year is decidedly not normal.
I can’t seem to get excited about beef stews or pumpkin bread or Manhattans or college football. Granted, my team is in a “rebuilding phase” with a “quarterback controversy”. And, I still haven’t fallen out of love with the farmers’ market’s obscenely luscious tomatoes. (I remain perplexed as to why the thought of new cocktail selections hasn’t moved my soul in the least.)
But why has this full-fledged funk cometh during my absolute favorite time of the year? I expect it to arrive promptly in late winter in the guise of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I most oftentimes want to “affectively” put my head in the oven around Spring Break when I realize just how pale and ashy my legs are after 60 straight days of grey skies. My “disorder” routinely surfaces as incoherent rage upon reading disappointing forecasts extending long into April.
This sadness is quite singular. I am not mad that summer keeps hanging on. I am simply sad that it didn’t hang on long enough.
I suppose the end of summer this year signaled the beginning of the end of a life’s season. We have started the countdown to the end of childhood for our oldest, gorgeous, smart and frustratingly independent-since-birth girl. We have nine more months together in our current relationship. During that time, she will be ecstatic thinking of everything she gets to change in her life; all the mundane, boring experiences she will get to pack away as well as the myriad of exciting, novel ones that she will fantasize about taking out for the first time. Ah, she will muse, that brand new freedom will look so amazing in that corner of my life.
At this point in time in my life, I am only "looking forward" to packing up beautiful things of which I have not grown tired. I selfishly want them to be lounging about in the same way, on the same charming sofa where they have always lain. For the first time in 18 years, I don’t look forward to opening a box of shiny objets d’art to perk up my daily existence for the next season. I have exactly two masterpieces in my most precious collection. Soon, only a moiety will remain. And, this impending absence makes me unspeakably sad.
She is my greatest work of art. She gives meaning to my daily existence, even when being a complete hormonal jerk. Even when rolling her eyes at my every word.
She is my Light and Greenness.
From her vantage point, spring is coming and the days are getting longer and sweeter smelling. Soon, summer will be upon her. Its day’s light will seem unending.There is such an abundance of green, it will sometimes overwhelm her. Lately, I have realized that I will only see glimpses of this growth…and only the parts she wants to reveal to me.
From my vista, the Light is travelling to other parts of the world, making my own bit of it much dimmer and markedly less verdant. I know that all of this is a normal cycle of life. I begrudge her nothing, for she deserves all the happiness and wonder of the world. I am lucky to have witnessed her birth into this world. I am now even luckier to witness her birth into her own life.
All of this I understand in my head. But right now, in my heart, I am inconsolable about life’s inevitable and predictable changes. For the very first time, I envy the other hemisphere’s good fortune.