Turning

It may shock some of you to hear this, but I can be heavy lifting.

I know.

Someone as melancholy as me, as attuned to both loss and sorrow?  Hard to believe.  But it’s true.

And it is getting more pronounced.  Well, to be accurate, my sensitivity is getting more pronounced all around, which means I’m more aware of both the dark stuff and the outrageous beauty. I try to focus on the latter.

But there are times when I’m swamped by all that feels difficult.  That’s not true right now: as I wrote just last week, this has been a summer full (so far) of uncommon beauty.  Of course, I also acknowledged that that patina is likely burnished by the endings and departure that lurk under everything right now.  But still, there’s a lot of beauty right now.

In the last week, though, I started noticing that the days were getting shorter again.  The nights are falling a bit earlier, and I am already aware of summer’s end even amidst all the riotous hydrangeas and hot days and beach swims. It’s as though the next season, and its accompanying darkness, is already encroaching in around the edges of the light and beauty of right now.

It’s that old preemptive regret thing, the way I can’t focus on what’s in front of me because I’m too distracted by what I can sense on the horizon. Everything is turning, so fast I can barely catch my breath: summer turning towards fall, Grace turning towards her leaving, Whit turning towards teen-hood and being a young man.  We are all inching forward on the ferris wheel and I am breathless at the view but also at what I know lies ahead.

I’m not the only person in my family who evinces this sensitivity.  On Sunday night, Whit was sad at bedtime.  It took me a while to drag out of him what was wrong (planting the seeds of another post, about the ways in which we should run into the burning building, or about how it is when those we love are at their worst that they need us the most) but he finally admitted, tearfully, what was on his mind.  It was a long list, but one of them was that “the summer’s already halfway gone!  It feels like we just got out of school!”  He was very upset. “I mean, summer is basically almost over.”  He swallowed, wiping tears from his face.

“I know what you mean, Whit.” I told him, rubbing his back.  I had no idea what else to say, since the truth is the awareness of how fast it all flies brings me to my knees on a regular basis.

With effort, I turn my face back to what’s in front of me, and take a deep breath.  My time on earth turns forward no matter what I do.  The bitter aspect of my orientation towards bittersweetness is unavoidable (so, by the way, is the sweet part).  What I can choose is where I place my attention.  So, once again, I try to do that right here.  Right now.

 


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9 Comments

  1. Posted July 18, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    I love that you just let Whit feel the way he feels! So often I have to fight the urge to “fix,” to make people feel better. I will remember your words next time someone is feeling sad:)

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  2. Melissa
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Our little tribe is deep in change, transition and threshold crossings. A true turning. Starting a new career for one, a new job for another, a new school and a new team. Dancing the lemniscate right now (letting go and opening to, death and rebirth, ending and beginnings).

    Also wondering if you would be willing to share your experiences in England. Our daughter has a persistent dream (goal) that would take her there (for high school), and our hearts are trying to expand to hold this potential. Her there, us here. Thank you. xo

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  3. Posted July 18, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I swear it has gone faster than usual even though I know that’s impossible as a day is always 24 hours, a week is 7 days, etc. My son’s bar mitzvah is in August, which seems soon, but I feel that as Whit said school really just ended.

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  4. JO
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Hello – a quick note to say that I’m so attuned to your way of thinking that I sometimes can’t bear to read your posts! this one caught my attention and since i’m feeling so bittersweet too I thought I’d post just to say ‘hi’ I get what you’re feeling right now. I’m finding myself almost in tears some days just looking at my nearly 9 year old swinging her arms walking back from school and chattering away and thinking ‘soon this will be over, soon she’ll be a teen and we won’t walk home from school together’. I have a 14.5 year old so I really know how quickly they are independent! And I hate the end of summer term so much (we’re just breaking up this week in the UK): it’s like one long New Year’s Eve (which I HATE). September is like New Year’s Day and a bit more positive but in July all I can think of is another term is ending, another academic year passed and another year closer to the ending of childhood.

    You put it far more eloquently than I ever could: but I too try to focus on the sweet not the bitter but the problem is the sweet is tainted with the bitterness of time passing. I wish I could just ‘be’ in the moment and not reflect on it, or feel regret as it’s passing.

    So a kindred spirit relating to you across the Pond! Enjoy those sunny days.

    jo

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  5. Amy
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Your words always ring so true. They make me feel less alone.
    Thank you.
    Amy

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  6. Mary Stevens
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I was introduced to your blog when I started reading Katrina Kenison. Just as Katrina’s words ring so true for me, although I am at a different stage in life than you, your lovely words also ring so incredibly true. It always helps to know we are not alone in our feelings and I hope your readers help you know that you are not the only one who feels the passage of time so acutely. I would venture to say that most of my life I have felt both total joy and melancholy as I watched my children grow. Now that they are grown, honestly, it does not change. Now I have two beautiful little granddaughters who are growing way too fast! It is all so beautiful and so, so bittersweet. Thank you for your thoughts and beautiful words.

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  7. Posted July 19, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Yes. To all of this. xo

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  8. Posted July 19, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    I am naturally bent to looking at the glass half empty, the bittersweet moments of life – it takes constant attention to make sure I learn how to focus on what is yet to come. Sending hugs as you enjoy your month together.

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  9. Posted July 24, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Thank heavens for you getting it. Time is racing and it hurts my heart. And I swear it was just yesterday we celebrated the days getting longer and now the darkness is coming sooner and sooner. It’s so, so, hard. Xoxo

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