I love this week…the end of summer and knowing that fall is just ahead…When I was young we had a surf shop in our town called Things-U-Like, and they sold yellow t-shirts, that read in orange lettering, “it’s better in September” and here at the Jersey shore it’s true. We still have bright sunny hot days, but the humidity is significantly diminished and we have fewer beach flies and even fewer greenheads here near the bay. We still have restaurants and stores open but we have fewer cars and even fewer traffic lights, and we can finally drive over 35 mph and get to where we are going a bit more easily. Sure, the sunsets are earlier but we still have a month of what we call Local Summer. Over the last few days, the weather channel and the local Philadelphia news channels had us on high alert for a tropical storm, but if you looked outside and did not know this, you would think I was joking…it’s been gorgeous out. It is just the best time of the year here.
As autumn begins, I really enjoy my coffee out on the decks as the sun peeks up from behind my tall cedars, without that heavy feeling on my skin, sickly & sweaty with that overall dead-of-summer coating of “ick.” I’ve always loved the fall, I appreciate the mix of colors that the trees start to give us, and I live on a road that is just about the most beautiful one in our whole town…rural, and full of such a wide variety of different species which change color and texture throughout these weeks in a way that gives us a new show every day if we take the time to notice. Some wooded areas go from green to brown in a couple of days and then just look bland and sad for months, but not this road; this street delights me every time I pause to look, and revel in nature’s art project this time of year.
My joy for this season ahead feels muchier than usual, for a few reasons I suppose, primarily that this begins my last year of life in my forties; I feel something like a pull to start living that “now or never” way of life that many I know have mastered, and I have failed to even start. Anything that I think I ought to be doing, or feel like I should have already done, kind of needs to be addressed…this is the last year of my 40’s and any changes that I want for any aspect of my life feel like now is the time or I had best stop thinking about them and accept them as they are…that “old dog/new tricks” business…I’ve said and written for years that I want to travel more and I am so excited that my boyfriend’s part-time job as a professional percussionist with a nationally touring tribute band has provided us with lots of opportunities to travel, and while I don’t have the freedom or the means to go to all the places he is getting to play, I am excited that I’m getting out of my small circle of life a bit more than I ever did before, and my list of places we get to see this year is getting longer and longer with every new gig that they book! This week starts the first year my daughter works in her new career as a school teacher, this season starts the first year of having my new son-in-law as part of this family, it’s the beginning of our Sweet-Ti’s middle school experience, and it starts the little-blonde-wonder in the gifted program at school with some violin lessons on the side, and although my heart is heavy for her, as it’s the first time she’ll be going to school without her sister, she’s so lovely and adaptable that I suspect it will just fall into place for her, and honestly, when you think about it, things somehow do always fall into place don’t they?
My only difficulty (if I allow it) this time of year (if I let my brain dwell on it, or recognize a difficulty at all) is KNOWING, or I guess I should say anticipating with dread, that my small business becomes positively tiny, and grinds to a H A L T…a really, and I mean R E A L L Y slow, and I mean so S L O W, few months loom ahead of me…and I start my annual fall panic…the ‘what ifs’ of my world…what if I don’t get any new customers for next year, or new work for the off-season…I can panic and freak-out until my eyelashes fall out (which has happened during several fall seasons) but I’ve learned, or begun to understand, that this dreading and worry does nothing but upset my being, it positively serves no purpose whatsoever, and weakens my soul…and so I am trying, already, even though it’s only Labor Day weekend, to not have any bad vibes about the months ahead. I promised myself, during my nightly chats with the universe over this summer, that I was not going to let worry get to me, or let stress consume me, and instead I am only going to focus on all that is good…AND there is so much, so very, very much, that is good. Just because fall is the time of year that I normally worry, there is no reason I have to do it this fall, or ever again for that matter!! Using the super powers of my brain to stop this chatter that begins to fill the empty spaces of my brain is going to be another of my new autumnal habits! Practice makes perfect, right?! I’m going to be excited about walking my grandchildren to the bus each morning, I’m going to be excited that I have neither “boss” nor office which allows me to be home in time to get them off the bus in the afternoons if need be, or available to drive little humans to dance classes and violin lessons, I’m going to be excited that I don’t have to find somebody to “cover my shift” when I get to go to New Hope, Bridgeport, and Niagara Falls to watch my boyfriend make music magic with his band…I’m practicing to notice all that is good and right and easy, and not be bogged down by the worries and thoughts of what is not so good or far from easy. I have many friends who meditate and who have trained their brains to not get lost in the thoughts that serve no purpose, and I find that the more I practice these daily gratitudes, and the more I practice my presence, I am less and less inclined to even notice, let alone dwell on the worry…and honestly, what is better than falling back in love with your own life? It’s the best kind of falling there is…