Remember those strange and sudden snaps of cool weather, cushioned and squashed in the recesses of your mind, between the scorching heat of endless summer day after endless summer day? Sometimes a storm moving in, the low pressure zone and the rain first sizzling on hot asphalt then tempering the day all together as if July never existed at all?
My life, or more specifically, me, is weather.
For the past few years, I have felt the sticky heat of an Indian summer in my bones. Not in a circumstantial sense, because Lord knows that is more like a roller-coaster than a climate situation, but in an internal sense. My very character has been heavy, hot, unforgiving- to myself, to others – and yet somehow liberated. The sweat of a humid and weighty season of college academia and never enough money and co-ed relationships somehow pays the dues owed for long nights with friends, safety, self-centeredness and indulgent complaining.
I’m talking about college. Not just the academics, but the entire experience. It’s a selfish part of life, college. All that work demands just as much play just to maintain some sanity, but all of it, the classes to the parties, are all directed inward. College is about the individual and achievement and self-discovery and making ridiculous choices if only to assert one’s ability to actually chose. College, like summer seems constant and oppressive and yet there is a certain liberty that comes with that much stress- a free pass to be a rebellious version of ourselves. To run wild in the sprinkers, and wear not enough clothing, and to drink an extra margarita. It’s a liberty that I took full advantage of, so on the waning of that I have fought to the brink of exhaustion, constantly trying to avoid the next season. But nature, and life, always find a way.
And just like the stormy reprieves of summertime cold snaps, lately I have been noticing reminders. Though summer tends to hold on, stretching thin to cover the days, fall is right around the corner, peaking her head in once in a while, cooling it off and giving warning.
If I am weather, the weather is changing.
Isn’t that always true though?
Here is what I mean.
I see a version of me, a calmer, stronger, more centered version of me coming. I’m still in my summer haze, I refuse to change easily, but I find myself being drawn less and less toward my rebellious youth and more and more toward a more focused, quieter, cooler existence. One that is less concerned with having “fun” and more concerned with creating warmth from the inside of my life.
Little things, like the fact that I have been wanting to cook more, seem insignificant to those who don’t know me, but trust me, any sign of domestic tendencies is enough to make my mother slightly confused. I long for quiet evenings spent with a few good friends, peppered with the occasional crazy weekend. A year ago those longings would have been flip-flopped. I find myself more concerned with how I am going to transform the world around me and less worried about getting what I “want.”
If summer is all about the self, then surely fall, with all of it’s holidays and thanksgiving and transformation, and color, is about community. For me, I see this manifesting itself in the desire to spend less time worrying about my own life’s story, and more time helping others to voice theirs.
There is still a wild weather in me. I was born with a restless spirit and an independent pride that is all but my undoing, but ever so slightly I am being reminded that summer, is only one season, and fall will surely come. My rebellious youth is fading, the sun is moving away, but the unexpected joy is found in the colors of restful fall.
Like a leaf, floating from a tree, what bitter-sweet joy there is in letting go.