A couple weeks ago, with Labor Day behind me and school back in session, I gave in to the temptation of calling it quits for the summer, and mentally fast forwarded to the bleakness that is fall.
Falling from summer
Even the name itself is a downer. Fall. Leaves leaving trees. Rakish, spindly gardening tools itching to come out of their tool shed hibernation. I knew fall was just the appetizer. The main course was a little thing we like to call winter, and it was coming right up.
Reluctantly I covered my patio furniture, dragged it to the side of the house, and let go of my summer mind.
But then I decided this was way wrong. Even though it was already mid-September, summer’s warm weather remained, and it wasn’t officially fall yet. Like a host ready to say goodbye to his houseguest, but knowing this person would be missed, I consciously invited the summer to hang around a while longer, and in doing so, realized the importance of letting a season run its course.
Last stand of the strummin’ summer
To keep summer alive, the kids and I opened the calendar section of the paper, and with a big red Sharpie circled all the possibilities of summer. There was a “car show-slash-Elvis fest” in Fontana. We could take a twilight hike in Temecula. Or experience live butterflies in the “Pavilion of Wings” on the Westside. We finally decided on a little celebration called “Ukelele Heaven.” (Okay, I admit it, I decided. But that’s one of the privileges of parenthood. I am the boss.)
It was an outdoor event on a hot summer day, with the audience sitting under shady trees, and more trees behind the band swaying in the breeze. It was the cat’s PJs.
Letting things run their course
Our lives cycle through various seasons, and I wonder how often we have the patience to let these seasons play themselves out. It’s natural for us to dread the beginning of a certain season, or actively wish for a season’s end, often before its time. Whether it’s an illness, our twenties, or a long-term relationship that is dying, there are some experiences in life we simply want to get through. Quickly.
When it comes to seasons of life we enjoy, we often tend to want them to last forever. But that’s not healthy either. By holding on to what we have at the moment, we may not notice or be open to the next good gift that fate has meant for us to experience. We may even be blocking the process.
He designed nature and the seasons for a reason. The trick is knowing when to let go and when to hold on, and having the faith and open expectation to let each season run its full course.
Fall is here now. Before it takes over, since I live in the Southwest, I still have a little time to barbecue and eat outside. But my soul is prepared to enjoy the fall to its fullest before winter comes, and my world freezes over, and I have to dig it out of the snow.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.