The time of the Queen Anne’s lace is over. Summer is ending fast.
Riding my bike, I watch the leaves begin to change.
A single yellow flash here.
A radiant smattering of red there.
A few trees are already trumpeting autumn.
I take in the beauty, and I feel a familiar ache in my heart.
It’s all happening so quickly. I only just recently fell in love with summer, and already she’s walking out the door.
I try to pay attention every day. I try to notice the moon wax and wane. I watch the tomatoes ripen and the neighbor’s hydrangeas turn pink around the edges.
Still, there is much that escapes my notice.
I always feel nostalgia at the turning of the seasons. As soon as the summer solstice hits, I’m already lamenting the shortening of the daylight hours. And now it’s September, and the leaves are turning.
I don’t want to miss anything. Amidst the uncertainties and travails of the day-to-day, my heart is hungry for life. I ride my bike, and every so often, despite my nearly incessant stream of thoughts, I remember to look at the colors around me.
It’s not just the leaves that are changing. I myself am changing. The dreams of a year ago have shifted and softened. As I surrender the struggles of one month, I’m welcoming in the challenges of the next.
As I don’t want to miss the turning of the leaves, I don’t want to miss the subtle shifts of my life.
I remember looking in the mirror as a child and wondering, What will I look like when I’m grown up?
Now I sometimes look into the mirror at bedtime and say to myself, This is it! This is you as a grown-up. And I smile at the girl who wondered. Our eyes are exactly the same.
I feel a deep tenderness toward that child. We are one and the same, and yet I’ll never be her again. And then I look ahead to Hannah at 50, Hannah at 75, Hannah on her deathbed, and I know how tenderly she’ll feel toward 37-year-old Hannah.
This is it! she’ll say, looking at herself in the bedtime mirror. This has always been it.