TREENA MIELKE / On The Other Side
The green leaves of summer have given up arguing with the unseasonably warm weather and are changing according to plan.
There are, however, a few stubborn green leaves that just keep hanging in there, not ready to adjust to the norm, even if it means becoming brilliant tangerine and scarlet threads in Mother Nature’s fall tapestry.
I get that.
Even as fall drops all kinds of hints that it is really here, I, too, had a hard time letting go of summer.
“Just one more week, one more day, even a few hours would be good,” I plead to no one in particular.
“I only just bought that cute little summer dress at the Farmer’s Market. I’m not ready to pack it away yet.”
But my words came bouncing back to me, echoes, lost in the chill of an autumn wind that suddenly blew in from somewhere causing me to reach for a sweater I had put away last spring.
And later, as I walk with my grandchildren, watching my brand new pink runners crunch up leaves that are already crunchy, I know for sure the season, with or without my approval, is changing.
And so I give in.
And it’s not all bad, I decide.
Fall, as well as summer, brings with it its own built-in moments of absolute delight. I know that. And as in other seasons, the same rules apply. Work a little. Play a little. Laugh a lot. And, as much as possible, don’t sweat the small stuff and, as someone much wiser than I said, “It’s all small stuff.”
I think the same person said, “Live in the moment.”
I mentioned these rules to my daughter who is now potty training her second child, but she seemed immune to my sage advice, choosing instead to favor me with the look. I think ‘the look’ meant, “You have no idea what I am going through,”
I opted against mentioning neither she nor her siblings were born potty trained, so I must have some idea, choosing instead only to smile.
I’m getting good at this, I congratulate myself.
Instead of even trying to respond to my daughter in an adult-to-adult way, I decide instead to focus on finding moments in the season that I can highlight as particularly awesome so I can put them in my memory book to keep me warm when it is absolutely freezing outside.
Much to my surprise, I found such a moment fairly quickly.
It was the kind of day when the sun burned like burnished gold through the trees, and the sky was the kind of blue I imagine, but I’m not exactly sure, that bluebirds are.
The air felt like fall itself, all fresh and clean, and, I, for some reason, had this incredible urge to crunch piles of leaves beneath my feet mindlessly and toss up piles of them into the air just as mindlessly watching them slowly drift back down through the shafts of filtered sunlight.
It didn’t seem like a very adult thing to do, but luckily my five grandchildren were all hanging out with me at the moment.
“Why don’t you go play in the leaves, kids,” I said in my most grown up, grandmotherly voice. “Here, I’ll show you how.”
And so it came to be that we spent a glorious afternoon where the sun and the sky and the clear, bright moments of joy got all mixed up in the sounds of laughter that will forever, even when winter settles in with a vengeance, keep me warm on the inside where it counts.
A fireplace and a mug of something warm to wrap my fingers around also seem like good option for when it gets really cold.