There’s something about this afternoon: the autumn colors still brilliant, maybe even more brilliant than usual against the backdrop of the incoming cold front, still a few hours west of here. A few hours later, as I download the photos onto my computer, the cold front sweeps in with the flair of giant wind that rocks the house. Temperatures plummet. All changes right here, right now, inside and outside, for the people close to me who are the drop in the ocean of all the people I’ve yet to meet, and for this rolling land, having held summer and its aftermath close to the breast for months.
For some of the people in my life, this has been a watershed time with lots of swimming through hard stuff: deaths of people way too young and/or too beloved, grieving that doesn’t let go, health crises without easily-attainable answers, even trouble breathing or sleeping deeply enough. It’s all hard enough when the weather is lovely, the trees are loaded with coppery gold and rusting reds, and the squirrels are fat and happy. When winter lands big and fresh, what will happen?
Yet those of us seasoned by the seasons have a sense of what will happen: the big cold will come, the thaw will interpret that channel and remind us of fall lost to spring ahead, the weather will change again on a dime and a quarter and half-dollar, and before we can get too used to it, change for the worst or the better. And so on. The same for whatever’s hard, impossible or too distant to yet imagine.
Here we are, right on and over the cusp of the season, some of us feeling like we’re riding barrels over Niagara Falls, some of us lulling down the easy river, but all of us — if not now, later on — afloat. May we hug the shorelines soon, may we love the speed and rollicking swirls of the ride, and may we find home in whatever weather houses us.