September 1st. Matt took this photo over Marion Harbor this morning. It looks like a sunset, right? But it is the sunrise. And that confusion feels not-coincidental to me lately. I’m home, as is Whit. Grace is at college. Whit is back at school. Matt and Phoebe return home this evening. We are full steam ahead into the fall season. But I feel like I’m in the whitewater of transitions, overwhelmed by all the things that are different even as I’m anchored by those that remain the same. Things are ending and things are beginning and it’s understandable, I think, that sometimes I confuse the sunset for the sunrise and vice versa.
Maybe this time of year is always exhausting. I suspect it is. A return to “real life,” with all the formality and structure that implies, comes with some adjustment. This year in particular the summer felt a little weird – a lot of changes (Mum moving out of the house she and Dad lived in for 30 years, Grace heading to college) and a fair amount of emotion too. But also so many moments of levity and joy: countless family dinners on the back porch and elsewhere, Grace’s graduation party, a family swim to the line, many walks with Phoebe.
In short, everyday life. In all of its mundane glory.
I think it makes sense that I feel out of sorts and tired. I’m trying to let myself just be that way rather than fight it. The next few weeks will be very busy at work and I’m grateful that I got to take Grace to college before that began. I’m thankful for my family’s continued health even as I worry about this scary new surge. I know how lucky we are that both children are in in-person school. So, so much good fortune. But still, so much to worry about and so much to absorb. As the Weepies say and I hear in my head all the time: the world spins madly on. And it does.
Thank God. And damn it, at the same time. Time’s relentless forward march is both blessing and curse. Nothing lasts forever. As Dad told Grace after her other grandfather died (and before he did), the only thing to do is to reach out and grab the future, even if it hurts. This too shall pass. Heartbreaking, deep truth. The best and the worst moments are all transient.
I’m going to make that sunrise my screensaver for the next little bit. And remember that it’s a beginning.