May 18, 2022
Late. I was late leaving work and even later due to a bit of after hours shopping. Crossing the parking lot, with keys in hand, I watch my surroundings. The lot is brightly lit. The sounds of semi-trucks’ engines and the distant store music are interrupted only by an occasional dog’s barking and a mumble of human conversation.
Weeks ago, as the constellation Orion faded from my sky scape, I reminded myself to always take time for stargazing. When I experienced the divorce, I had vowed to myself to never forget how much I loved looking at the night sky.
I knew the Full Flower Moon with its solar eclipse was due to appear. On that particular night, admittedly I had forgotten. As I walked across the parking lot, with its own busy-busy sounds and bright lights, my eyes caught the shocking sight of red in the sky.
As I packed up the Jeep, I paused. There in the middle of concrete, asphalt and all sorts of humankind was a faded red moon. No mistaking it.
Sometimes those brutal first moments of a new season cause rapid tides of change. Everything from the complex such as “Will the air conditioner work?” to the elementary “Where are my sandals? I did have sandals, didn’t I?”
So too pass all the impacts of seasonal changes. I always seem to forget that although the change from fall to winter occurs with the heavier, weightier impact of thicker fibered clothing, the changes from spring to summer are just as abrupt. And even though the blossoms and weather are light and beautiful, their appearance comes with a price.
It’s just that usually a person admits to the price as being well-worth the return. Warmer weather? Oh, I can open windows! Mosquitos and bugs? Well, there is always citronella and a variety of easily available repellents whose choice is dependent upon the ecologic philosophy of the individual.
Well, I guess I have stories to tell of my own transitions. At the lightest of moments, I find my shopping trips a bizarre combination of household goods and seasonal foods, of selections like pool noodles and a gorgeous white orchid whose petals were spotted with a deep maroon. I start eating watermelon as much as I physically can and hold onto my deep love of soups.
Hmm. I guess some things are unseasonal!
On a serious note, I feel myself turn into a new season of womanhood. Perhaps that change became startling apparent when I dressed for a historical event. The Matthias Building was one of hte buildings included on a history tour of local buildings. Since this year’s theme was the Roaring Twenties, it seemed a perfect opportunity to open up not only the building, but even myself. I dressed not overly flapperish, but attempted a pseudo-costume with pieces I already owned. I donned a black knit pencil skirt with a black knit top. Oh, I did purchase a black lace kimono accessory upon which I had my eye. A long faux pearl necklace completed the outfit. I attempted to slick my hair, then tuck under the ends into a roll. My great Aunt Mae’s hair pin completed my ‘do’.
One photography goal of the day was a self-portrait in the style of the 1920’s. I found the pose to be more difficult than I would have imagined. I mean, a picture is a picture. But the experience of trying multiple attempts made me wonder about the manner of the pose. In formal early twentieth century portraiture of women, the subject’s eyes were not straightforward to the camera.
I feel as though I never got it quite right, but the experience made me think of details of history such as that gaze. I thought of the women who had gone before me, gazing to the side. I also noticed that I looked quite a bit like my grandmother and her sister. Shockingly so, I must admit!
I wanted to rise up to those histories. One of the participants in the history hunt mentioned the racism of the 1920’s. I stll wish to rise up to the histories. I think it is the only way to and I am hoping that it is the only way to overcome histories. They are more than stories. And I would have to be stronger than those stories in order to carry them. I would have to be stronger to rise above their weight.
I would need to be wiser. Always.
And there I was, plunged into history’s embrace and my own definition of womanhood.
My family is living through its own seasons just as families do. My wonderful son boldly carves his path. And his mother continually makes mistakes or even worse, recognizes her mistakes from years ago. The lessons a mother shares with her son when he is twenty-something is something. Once in awhile the volume of what he is about to encounter as he strikes out becomes unimaginable to me. I find my own transformation from the cool, laid back mom to the list in hand, realities mom. I catch myself, but I find myself drawing boundaries too.
There is only so much I can say. There are only so many words. And a mother’s love hopefully tethers his soul just enough. Oh, he is ready. I am always glad of his grandfather’s influence upon his life. Especially at times of immense, life-scope changes, I think of my son’s foundations with my father.
But that realization also brings sadness too. There is an inherent loneliness to change. No matter how I look to nature or draw upon experiences and my own wisdom, the process of change is so lonely. How does one resolve that?
I think one of the biggest changes of this season is the lesson of the season itself. Like breath, like sunshine, and like the budding leaves, there is an intuitive knowledge in the change. For example, I will breath until I breathe my last. The sun will shine for generations to come.
So today, I removed some of the reminders from my phone. I decided that with my change, I would not accept words meant to hurt me. I would accept my sensitivities. I decided I would create my season with time and space for my peace. I recognized to myself that I had given others those gifts for years.
Now, the best gift I could give myself was the same respectful peace.
Ah. (Insert your deep breath here. Oh, do it again.)
Peace. Space. Time. Yours.
Now that might just be the best little peck of summer’s kiss.
all my love,
P.S. “Embracing a Quick Peck of Summer” might be my romantic notion of jumping into change. Bracing oneself might be evermore necessary. And this year, our central WIsconsin weather froze our toes until the early days of May. Then, Mother Nature – the nature of mothers? – sent temperatures into the eighties and nineties within a span of days. Seriously! I am only now finishing the chore of sweater storage.
Brace yourself. That sweet little peck of summer only hints at what is to come. But then maybe a person decides that what is to come is what one wishes. The changes, like our WIsconsin seasons, come fast and with the briefest of pauses. Maybe there is the wisdom?