Autumn executed a hostile takeover in Seattle this year. One September afternoon my family was enjoying a sunny picnic at one of the many lakes around the city, and the next we were enveloped in a heavy marine layer that blew in from the Pacific and parked itself at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. That was a bully move on nature’s part.
I am a human barometer. When the grey clouds hovered dense and low in the evergreens, I slowed down, and my energy began to dim with the quickly fading light. Not only did my external world go through a sudden change, so did my internal world. But not for the worse, it just shifted. And like the change of seasons, I think we all experience times when life shifts.
Within the last couple of months, many of my friends have sent their kids to college. Two have already boomeranged back home. One friend walked his daughter down the aisle, and my own daughter is ready to fly the coop and start a new career. Some friends and neighbors are preparing to pack up and move; others are changing jobs; and still others are asking, what next?
My son has finally dipped his big toe in the waters of adulthood by moving away from home. As he was struggling through this transition, I tried to explain to him that we all move through different seasons in our lives. In his own unique understanding of the world, he somehow came up with this:
“Sounds like plate tectonics,” he said. “One plate crashes against another plate, and then it goes into the guts of the earth and turns to lava, and then the earth spits it out and makes new land.”
Yes. I believe our lives are a little like plate tectonics. We have times of creativity, of resting, of dismantling, then growing outward into something new. These life changes can make us feel a little off balance. In my son’s case, when he tried to imagine new possibilities for his life, it felt like a volcanic eruption.
I wonder if autumn—in all her beauty and blustery moods—is nature’s gentle way of telling us to slow down, reflect, and move inward? Maybe this season is simply an offering of grace, a pause in the pace of life in a world that seems busy and complicated?
Today, as I walked down a street I have lived on for twenty-four years, distracted by all the usual things I tend to worry about in my busy life, autumn offered up grace in the form of rainbow-colored trees. The beauty stopped me in my tracks. As I stood on a carpet of red, orange, yellow, and green, I became fully present. I knew I was experiencing a rare moment, and as all the worries of the world dimmed, I became certain that even in the midst of change, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Wishing you autumn’s peace,
Kristin Jarvis Adams is a public speaker and advocate for children with special needs, helping to bridge the gap between the outside world and the inner world of autism. Her speaking engagements have included: Seattle Festival of Trees Gala, a benefit for Seattle Children’s Hospital and The Seattle Children’s Autism Clinic. Learn More>>