It’s a Saturday, the best of days for us who travail full-time, and it’s the last Saturday in September, one of those mornings that announces on a cool whispery breeze that summer is indeed, definitively, over. Rain has been tapping at the windows on and off all morning, as clouds, grey and foreboding, roll over the mountains. We have new windows, the installation job now nearly complete, and I’m surprised daily how much these new frames seem to alter what has become a familiar landscape.
Our home sits high on Stringfield Hill, overlooking other hills and valleys, the vista stretching to the Bradshaws in the distance. Though this view is one I’ve gazed upon for the past seventeen years, it’s familiar but never stale. Storms pour in, the fog lifts, the light changes the colors. The sky today is a spectrum of greys with lightning flashes and the growling of distant, but approaching, thunder. But another day, another time, it’s ablaze with the warmth of sunrise or sunset, or inky black with the belt of our galaxy stretching across it. It's sunny and blue, mostly, but it is always changing and shifting.
It’s a day like today though, with quiet tasks that permit me the mindfulness to be present in this shifting of the seasons, rather than racing off to work. To note that today is fall, but yesterday was still summer. It feels like a deep ritual to pause and acknowledge this, as did our forebears, who lived more aware and in awe of nature’s rhythms than most of us today.
The rain has begun in earnest now, falling at a sideways slant. The breeze coming through the narrow slit in the kitchen window will soon cause me to put the kettle on for tea. But for just another moment, I’ll focus on my gratitude for the sturdy roof above my head, the piles of books I haven’t yet read close at hand, and the stacks of firewood we’ve gathered over summer. We won’t need the wood today, but there’s a comfort in knowing it is there. The lighting of the season’s first fire is another ritual I relish each year, even more than the first gin and tonic that heralds summer.
I grew up in the desert where we have seasons, yes, but not four, and definitely lack fall as it exists here at a mile high. There are shifts in the desert too, but they are often either barely discernable or violent in nature, never quite like this shift, here, today. Each season here in the mountains bring advantages and disadvantages, certainly, but I greet each like a dear friend come to visit for a spell. Days like this, when the shift is palpable and the rare opportunity exists to savor it, to mark it, to pause and whisper: welcome.