The moon waxes and wanes. Dawn and sunset alternates amicably. From my backyard, the moon sometimes looks within easy reach; most mornings I like to sip the last of my coffee on the patio, watching the ocean being warmed by the first rays. But this Summer, I haven’t paid any attention.
As I emerge from the hospital elevator, craving caffeine, wishing I could finally wake up, I stop in my tracks when I see the tiny Persian lady, perennially dressed in cream and beige silk, weeping loudly on her cellphone, hair disheveled. She has been sitting for weeks by her daughter’s bedside, hoping and fighting for a recovery. I’d like to hug this woman, who seems so lost in the unfairness of it all. But I don’t. There are lines I am instructed not to cross.
Summer is nearly over. Even in the city of angels, where seasonal patterns are hard to come by, the fog, not the glaring sun, embraces me when I step out first thing in the morning, and the days are slightly shorter. It’s a sudden realization that comes over me as I watch this fierce, tiny woman who is holding on to the tiny shred of life still inside her daughter’s body. Here today, gone…soon. Like all the promises that Summer always carries in its first, heady days.
Every older person complains of time’s compression, of days and weeks slipping by unnoticed: a cruel trick of the synapses. This year I am guilty of not taking the time to pause and enjoy the gifts of Summer. I should have stopped to notice more.
Back when Autumn meant trudging back to school, I revelled in the new books, the new outfits my mother would pick for me, a new Snoopy planner or whatever character it was I loved so much. Now, Autumn is galloping my way and I risk falling out of the saddle, for lack of clear thinking.
Instinctively we know when changes are afoot, even if we are not quite sure how or when they will present themselves. Change is in the air, crisply creeping through the sliding doors still wide open for a while longer.
It’s in times of change that I look back, seeking a thread, a constant through the decades. As facile as it might sound, love is what has kept it all together, “it” being the ebbs and flows of my life: family, friends, lovers – a multitude of loving people who always made their presence felt. They are all still there. I must remember to tell them how much I love them more often, especially when they irritate me, when they disappoint me – anger and disappointment belonging in the same corner as expectation, the source of many blues. Love, on the other end, underneath the bouts of irritation and disappointment, does not waver and, unlike Summer, rarely ends.
Moon image by earthsky.org