Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Seasons of Change

Although it's not officially autumn until September 22 at 11:09 p.m. Eastern Time, harbingers of change are already beginning to appear. Some of the trees in Burlington are sporting flashes of red and orange; the mercury dropped nearly forty degrees overnight a few nights ago, and seems to be on a frenzied dash up and down the thermometer, trying to decide where to land. After setting record highs in the 90s four days in a row this past week, it barely crossed the 70 degree mark yesterday, is supposed to be 83 today, and stepping down by ten degrees each day before leveling off in the mid-60s on Friday, then rebounding into the 70s over the weekend. The early McIntosh apples have already appeared in the produce section of our local supermarket, and my taste buds are gearing up for homemade applesauce, fresh cider, and apple crisp.

The nights will be quieter, too, without the air conditioner humming; and I look forward to that economical breather between turning the a/c off and having to turn the heat on. I'm not quite as bad as Scrooge, who kept his place of business bleak and chilly, informing his poor clerk, Bob Cratchit, that "Garments were invented by the human race as a protection against the cold. Once purchased, they may be used indefinitely for the purpose for which they are intended. Coal burns. Coal is momentary and coal is costly. There will be no more coal burned in this office today, is that quite clear Mr. Cratchit?" However, I do make good use of sweaters and slacks, and usually do not have to turn the heat on until late October or early November, unless we get an early cold snap.

There are other signs of change, too. After a brief (too brief!) respite from Mindy's shedding of last year's undercoat, she is now shedding her summer coat, and that soft, tufted undercoat is growing in again. A friend said she had seen several woollybear caterpillars, looking fat and sassy with wide bands of brown and narrower bands of orange in the middle, and the squirrels are out in force with cheek pouches full to overflowing with seeds and acorns. Does that mean our hot, wet summer will be followed by an early, cold, snowy winter?

Some changes have nothing to do with the changing seasons of the year, and more to do with the changing seasons of life. My son and daughter-in-law informed us a few weeks ago that they are moving to Mexico in a couple of months. As a parent, I am sad to see them move so far away; but, also as a parent, I am thrilled that they are actively following their dreams. Davy has always wanted to live in a warmer climate, somewhere with palm trees, and had been trying to learn Spanish on his own for some time. Since the best way to learn a language is by total immersion, their move to Mexico will certainly afford him that opportunity--along with those palm trees! One of the benefits of having a web-based business is that it can be run from anywhere in the world. Whether or not the move will become permanent remains to be seen; but, in the meantime, there will be some exciting changes in store for them.

On the same day, our daughter Sarah informed us that we are going to be first-time grandparents next spring. David and I are beyond thrilled, and I'm sure my friends will get sick of hearing me talk about it long before my grandchild puts in his or her appearance on planet Earth. I have been looking online at knitting patterns for baby blankets and sweater sets (if you have a favorite pattern, please feel free to share it), started a journal called "Letters from Gramma D," and have been daydreaming of all the things I want to share with this special little one in the future--baking cookies, making crafts, coloring pictures, reading stories, playing "Let's pretend." And then there are all the childhood movies to relive, and seeing the world through a child's eyes again. This is a change I'm very much looking forward to and hope will be repeated.

Some changes are welcome--cooler weather, the approach of the holidays, a new grandchild, new adventures; some are not so welcome--declining health, the illness and death of loved ones, the disappearance of a beloved pet (our daughter Jen's, missing since September 1), having to get by without a car (hopefully not for long), and concerns about our country's economic health and the health of the planet.

How do you meet the challenges that changes bring? What changes are taking place in your life now? Please take a few minutes to share your comments below.