Here we go, or rather, there we went. All of the children doing all of the back to schooling. Even my unschooling group had a not-back-to-school day to get back into our cool-weather habit of gathering at the library every week. All of the activities have started back up, all of the money has been paid for all of the things that need to be paid for. We have attended the planning days and the parent nights (okay, I actually skipped most of those) and the orientations. I’m always a little sad this time of year because these happenings are a conscious reminder that Summer is coming to an end. This year I feel especially like I am not ready. And because I feel not ready, I have not done a lot of those “normal” things.
This Autumn I find myself grasping for the days, I am not ready to give up the time adventuring or even just the time outdoors to get back into our traditional Autumnal routine. Even as I write these words on what is likely the last warm Saturday of the year I am sitting on a patio, sun high in the sky, humidity frizzing my already wild hair. I could not drag myself into the library or a coffee shop for a few hours on such a Summery day. If you’ve been here awhile you’ll know that I simply must soak in the sun. It’s as if I am storing it deep in my bones for the coming winter.
Because I could not reconcile sitting inside for school yet, and because I can not yet force myself to think too deeply about the seasons to come, I have asked for grace. I have listened to myself more and better. I need to still be outside, regardless of if it’s cool-ish, or damp, or sweltering. I need to disappear into a central Minnesota state park for a day. I need to squeeze more adventures into my days, my Summer, my life. I have let go of some commitments, I have stepped back from things that I am passionate about. I have asked for flexibility from groups that I am still deeply involved with.
I feel a little selfish about this. While my children are perfectly happy not diving right into more full-time school, they would probably like to attend a few of the events and activities that I am choosing to skip for now. I have chosen to seek grace from them as well. A momma who heads into winter packed full of all that Summer (and even Autumn) can offer, is a better momma than the one they had last year. I am optimistically thinking that I can not be overburdened by the constant running, but rather that I can relish the days that are spent in the wildness of nature. If I can do that then I will be a better version of myself, perhaps a version who is slightly less miserable in January.
This is my hope.
So I will admit that Summer is winding down. I will accept that Autumn is actually still pretty wonderful. I will not jump ahead and be afraid of the internal darkness that winter brings to me. Instead, being present in this moment, in this day, in this season. I will not look forward in fear. I will attempt to absorb every single ray of sunshine that filters through the September sky. I have a little more peace today than I had a year ago. Knowing yourself more deeply brings that I think. It’s been a good journey from last October to the present, my sense of self is much stronger. I have been a much truer me than ever before.
If you disagree you could go back and read this post from about a year ago when I was feeling the weight of the impending Fall. As I reread the words I typed last August I really do feel lighter, there is much less of an impending-doom feeling. Last Autumn I did all of the Fall things and felt that I was forced out of Summer simply because we had to do them. I mean, why wouldn’t we? Over this year of adventuring though I have realized that I don’t need to jump into new activities due to a change in season. If I, and my people, are still finding joy and peace and we still have a love for what has been our life this Summer, we do not need to stop to accommodate the world.
It’s like Aldi. Are you familiar with Aldi? Well, when you are checking out at Aldi the cashier goes a hundred miles an hour. I really do find it amazing how fast they can scan everything in my cart. But it used to stress me out, I am not that fast, I can not get all of my groceries out of my cart, onto the belt that quickly . Plus I have littles talking to me, getting into the snacks on the side of checkout aisle, or bickering with one another. I used to feel that I was slowing them down, failing at meeting their goals for speed and efficiency. Well, one day it dawned on me-like, I am a customer-so if I can’t go that fast it’s still okay! They are not going to not take my money if they have to wait a few extra minutes while I switch my kid into the other cart or for me to dig my card out of my bag.
It used to stress me out to go to Aldi, because I am not fast enough for them, I was not ready for the thing that came next. This is how I felt about Autumn. I was not ready for it and so I was failing. Much like I realized that life will go on without me being a speedy grocery customer, I am realizing that if I need to ease into the upcoming season by still doing things from the previous one that is okay. I mean, it’s not like Autumn or Winter will kick me out if I don’t jump right into their activities on the date that everyone else does. I mean, if they did, that’d be cool too though.
Today I will be fully present in this glorious day that I feel is a gift from Heaven. There is nothing better than that. I will wander into Autumn as slowly as I please, adding in activities and adventures as I feel we are ready. Not rushing to give anything up, but being open to the opportunities as they come. I hope that you will take a moment or two to go slow this season, maybe we can even meet up there.