Today I got out the standard winter uniform, my favorite black turtleneck and jeans. I can’t make the move to socks, yet. Autumn is my favorite season of the year, but I find myself as reluctant as the weather to go in that direction.
We have been on the Extended Summer plan, here in New England, and the temperatures last week, the third week of September, were still just near eighty, with a lovely ocean breeze. The evenings began to cool and I scrambled to find jeans, socks, dormant since May, smelling of the dusty back corners of the dresser. Today the thermometer will not reach seventy, and I see autumn decorations on doorsteps, pretty gourds and pumpkins and corn stalks. Our stoop is decorated with the beach gear, unpacked from the car trunk but still in a state of shock that we would put boogie boards and swim noodles and digging gear away in the attic. The ocean has been ice-cream headache cold for almost two months now. But the first red-tinged maples are just beginning to turn, today.
I worried, two weeks ago, about the boy’s transition to school, but it has been miraculous, really. Not only have there been no tears at drop off, but he dresses himself and helps pack his lunch, waits by the door eager to go. I hear exciting reports at the end of the day, and he sings spontaneously. So it seems our whole family has turned a corner, and I have turned a corner: Scott and I are no longer our children’s whole world, and though we are no less central, we will never be their whole world again. I feel incredible relief, and it’s a little strange and disorienting, too. I can focus on some other things, with no guilt whatsoever. I can work. I can write. In fact, I have been happily writing this past week, and will have some new stories finished, soon. A customer entered the store and said something about “near-death experiences,” at which point I began muttering, “Does anyone have a pen, please,” an irresistible topic needing a piece of paper…
We pass a beautiful marshlands on the way home from kindergarten, and there are a dozen hawks circling. The boy asks me about what they are doing, and I say perhaps a large animal has died, large enough to provide food for a crowd of hawks. “I know!” he says brightly, “A mama and daddy hawk invited all their grown up kids home for a feast! They have so much food, that they want to share!”
He’s going to be alright, this guy. I’m going to be alright, too.