Tomorrow marks the start of the new school year.  All across our county, yellow school busses will fill the streets and children will fill the halls and the summer will officially end.

Last year, on this night before the new year launched, I sat out on my steps full of regret.  I didn’t want to let the summer go.  Summer had treated me so kindly and it had felt so glorious to be in that sunny place.  The new school year meant a return to routine that was burdensome and hectic, shortened days, busy schedules.  The longer nights and cooler days spoke to me of time inside, isolation, quiet and I was not ready for any of it–not the routine, not the hard work, not the journey into myself.

But today I feel differently.  I am excited and ready for the turn of the seasons. 

This evening at 6pm I had a choice to make.  Stay at the office and finish my phone calls to the west coast and make a dent in the ever lengthening to-do list or go to yoga.   Torn, I asked myself the question I ask myself when guilt won’t let me roll out my mat and leave my desk behind.  I asked myself the question, “Which will bring you into balance?”  Tonight, though, honestly, the answer surprised me.

Hungover from a glorious vacation, chlorinated hazy days at the pool and long stretches of spontaneous parties and dinners with friends I have been feeling disconnected from work.  I have begun to feel a bit undone by the leisure of summer.  A power hour at work in the quiet with no interruptions felt almost decadent.  And so tonight my yoga was practiced in an office –choosing to hunker down with my to-do lists and phone calls not out of guilt, but out of the joy of feeling as though I too, was back to school.   And with hard work I slipped into a feeling of rightness.

As the summer season ends and the school season starts I find myself welcoming the routines and schedules and “buckle down” mentality that I always relished as a school girl, the seriousness and sense of purpose that comes from reembracing the ordinary stuff of life:  stuff like making lunches and checking homework, signing permission slips and balancing the inevitably conflicting commitments.  I am ready for the return to rituals and regularity.  Everything has its time and I am ready to embrace this period.

I am not afraid of the internal journey that autumn seems to announce.  Last year I feared the longer quiet school nights that spoke of family time.  I was fearful that it would highlight what I didn’t have.  I was afraid of how I would feel without the busy buzzy distraction of summertime fun.  But for all my fear, for all I did to hold onto the summertime, autumn came nevertheless, bringing with it both predictable feelings and surprising revelations.  Autumn and winter were everything I feared and at the same time everything I didn’t think they would be.  They brought great joy, interesting lessons and wonderful connections as well as opportunities for me to sit with my ugly fears and thoughts and move past and through them.  

At the beginning of this summer season visions of perfect sunkissed days floating through my head.  I imagined it as paradise and held all sorts of high expectations for the three months of endless sunshine.  My summer was idyllic and it was also unspeakably difficult.  I faced huge fears I never anticipated having to face even in the deepest darkest days of winter.  But more importantly I came out on the other side in a place of contentment and strength I also never could have dreamed I would know. 

My summer’s lesson, indeed the lesson of the past year was that nothing is simply one thing.  Nothing is really good or bad but always something marvelously mixed up.  It all is at its best and worst, complex, difficult, miraculous and beautiful.

So I stand here–at the doorway to a new season newly clothed with an understanding that I move through it all anway–just as summer gives way to fall and the icy days of winter inevitably turn into the warm, long days of June, the  challenging gives way to the joyful which gives way to the peaceful which gives was to the crisis.    Transition, change, a new moment is just a breath away.  It is indeed the only thing we can count on. 

Tomorrow marks a transition, a change in seasons, a movement from one place to another.  But it does not, cannot predict whether the next few months will be good, bad or ugly.  They will just be, as I am.  And I will stand ready to embrace them with the gifts and challenges that they offer.

I stand at the doorway welcoming  schedules, routine and regularity and all the chaos and surprises that the new season will bring.  Welcoming a new phase and letting the old one pass.

One Response to “Back to School”

  1. Jennifer Ballantyne Says:

    One of the things I love about blogging is looking back at some of the situations and feelings we had written about and comparing them with later times and where we are at now. You have moved forward in absolutely amazing leaps and bounds Meg. It has been awesome to watch and I love the way you embrace life – all of it. Take care my friend, J xxx