Right Before Everything Changes
The house is finally quiet. The second week of school is almost over but of course it hasn’t looked as I expected. Sick kids, busy days, stressful news… But today the house is quiet. The rain falls steadily outside.
Our big yard remains a rich green despite the pending autumn. Today’s rain brings with it just a slight breeze so only the leaves of the trees move gently. Otherwise the view out my window might as well be a photograph.
The corn has taken a dramatic turn over the course of the last two weeks. It seems like it happened overnight, turning from the vibrant rich green walls around our property into an orange and yellow contrast with the sky and grass. The beans across the road are showing signs of change too. As you look over the expanse of a field, it’s peppered with various shades of green and yellow. Not all of it is ready at the same moment. Some of it takes longer to embrace the new season.
These are the moments before transition really takes place. The holding-of-your-breath before everything changes. The days before your kindergartner heads to school for the first time; the hours before a wedding when bride and groom look around at the surreal events unfolding before them – 450 photographs but never to be captured again; the weeks before a move as the boxes pile up and time with friends runs short.
The seconds between summer and fall are no where more apparent as they are out here in the middle of it all. Nature knows what transition looks like, how it works. Out here it stares us in the face. It builds up in the farmer getting ready for harvest; it weighs on my daughter as her schedule fills up for the coming weeks; it pushes the builder to move a little faster as he sees the weather begins to change. It’s on every corner and every country road: the garden, the fields, the grass, the temperature, even the change in insects that plague our evenings.
We are surrounded by all these indicators of change.
Maybe that’s one of the advantages to raising kids in the middle of a cornfield. They’ve grown up with a front row seat to how time moves on. I’ve always said I love that the circle of life is apparent to them from an early age. In the same way transition does not hide its face. In fact the true colors of transition might be a blessing when my kids face their own hold-your-breath moments in the future.
When I came home in the fall of my freshman year of college, the first thing I noticed when I got out of the car was the sound of the cornfield. When the leaves are crisp and the breeze moves through them, they brush up against one another. Like the sound your feet make on a hike through the woods or the call of the turtle dove in the morning, the corn sounds like home. Familiar and comforting even though you know it means change is coming fast. Those hold-your-breath moments of listening are golden.
Next week will be full and the beans will yellow even more and the corn will keep drying. We’ll be in the field soon and the season will be over before we know it. But in these moments before it all begins, I’ll enjoy the stillness and watch the rain fall gently. I’ll breathe in the sounds and the minutes before everything changes. I’ll embrace this day.
How do you feel in the moments before everything changes? Can we learn to embrace this?