Fall arrived here yesterday on a gust of cool wind. It whispered, Summer's over folks. Time to break camp and go back to school... I tried to ignore it for a day, but there's no denying the change in the slant of the sunlight, the smell of the breeze, and the sudden, merciful coolness. Sure, it's supposed to hit 100 here again in a day or so, but there's no going back now. It might get hot again, but it won't feel like summer again, not until next year.
Fall freaks me out a little bit, because like a gateway drug, it leads directly to winter, which scares the crap out of me. In a "normal" year, I dread the relentless cold and wet of winter. Summer is so short, and winter so long. It really seems unfair to me. This year is a little worse because I don't even know where I'll be for the cold months. All this uncertainty is unsettling. I'm off balance, and overcompensating by eating too many potato chips and drinking too much wine. But I'm usually the first to know when my head is stuck someplace it doesn't belong. Enough whining already! I need to suck it up, get a grip, snap out of it--whatever it takes to remember to Trust and move forward as fearlessly as possible. It's back-to-school time. Maybe I should venture out and learn something new.
Two things come to mind. I've been meaning to learn to type for years now. I refused in high school, when my mom insisted, saying it would be something to "fall back on". I thought, I'd rather wait tables. And so I did, for years, along with a lot of other weirder jobs, like bagging alfalfa sprouts, running a printing press, and impersonating a dental assistant. (It wasn't illegal, but my heart certainly was not in it.) I never learned to type, and never needed to, at least not until I decided to run a business online and write a blog. Now I could really use some good typing skills. I spend more time correcting than writing. Not kidding.
The other thing is sort of silly, and you know how I embrace silliness. I've noticed a regrettable lack of human-made music in the campground. There have been one or two guitars all summer, and that's it. Booming car radios and cell phone ringtones don't count. Where are the campfire sing-alongs, the gypsy violins, the melancholy strains of distant harmonicas? I took guitar lessons as a kid, but it didn't take. I can't sing. Bleh. And I attempted the violin a couple of years ago, with embarrassingly bad results. So now my attention is turned to the harmonica. I imagine myself softly playing old cowboy melodies by the campfire, or out in my kayak on a summer evening. I'm probably being silly in the way that means "wasting my time", but as I seem to say a lot these days, so what? I'll let you know how it goes. And if I never say another peep about it, well, my silly self will come up with something else. She always does. The point is to keep learning, keep moving forward, and to do what it takes to keep our balance in these crazy times. It's fall, that's all. Nothing to worry about. And it's a good excuse to buy a new notebook, and maybe some knee socks.