Pulled pork is in the crock pot, and I've cast my vote in the city's Democratic primary. It must be September. Summer's waning. The harvest moon loomed large last night. The fans in my house are humming more quietly, while the crickets in the yard seem to be chirping more loudly. The sun sets a lot earlier these days. And my after-dinner walks with the dog end with my front porch lights like a beacon, showing us the way home as we round the corner back to our street.
I used to fight the end of summer. Seriously. I used to dread it. But the past couple of years I've had a greater acceptance of the cycle of seasons. I've had a greater acceptance of a lot of things, actually. But the whole summer's-gotta-end thing was always a tough one for me to swallow.
I've also come to conclude that big change often happens anticlimactically. Like fall foliage, the really big changes in my life were all somewhat unsurprising and relatively slow to progress in their own way. From divorce to going back to school this fall, most of my major life events took their own sweet time to evolve. The same holds true even for my old ways of thinking--and even feeling. Eventually, many of the thoughts that don't serve me found their way onto the sidelines. While they still crop up from time to time, they don't have the importance I once attached to them. In short, I've gotten over the fact that things don't always go my way.
Last night was a gorgeous September evening. After the year's first CCD classes spilled out in the parking lot of our local parish, the neighborhood kids and classmates ran circles around their parents, playing tag while the parents chatted about the new school year and other things. We smiled and waved to the ones we didn't get a chance to catch up with. The school year brings the kids together again, for sure. But it also brings the adults together, too. We need that connection just as much as our kids.
Or at least some of us do. And we're lucky we have it. While out on a walk last weekend with two girlfriends, both parents at the same school my children go to, one of them noted how lucky we were to be part of our little New Haven neighborhood. So many of us are friends brought together by our children's school or parish. But we remain friends because we truly enjoy one another's company. For better or for worse. We don't try to pretend we're something we're not. We know many of each other's secrets and darker sides to our life stories. And we accept one another for who we are in a way that I've honestly never felt anywhere else but here. Home.
So fall, I welcome you and all the change you've got up your sleeve. My life is almost unrecognizable from six or seven years ago. When I first ventured away from that life, I was terrified. I thought I would never find the kind of happiness I had, at least to some extent, enjoyed. Who knew something better was in store? It slowly unfolded before me. And now I can look out from my neighborhood to the great space between our city's East and West Rocks, and I no longer feel like I'm looking back on anything wistfully or longingly. Instead, I'm just taking it all in and enjoying the breeze from the water on my side of town.