According to the solar calendar, summer begins about three weeks into June, and ends about three weeks into September. But Americans, who are much too stubborn and independent to listen to something as unreliable as the sun, all know it really begins Memorial Day at the end of May, and ends on Labor Day at the beginning of September.
I think this is why May and September are probably my favorite months of the year. May is no longer spring, but not quite summer. The neon greens and kaleidoscopic pastels of March and April have ripened into the verdant green palette of summer. But summer is still a thing to come, and thus May is rich with unrealized potential and plans for the coming summer. September is similarly not yet autumn and no longer summer. School is in session, the heat is softened (slightly, occasionally) by a sweet breeze that whispers promises of October’s bracing vibrance. Like its fellow bookend of summer, September is positively humming with untapped possibilities.
Months of transition and change make that most tantalizing of promises, that things can be different. That they must be different. I think after some of the events of this summer — global, local and personal — that promise has never seemed so intoxicating to me. I’ve just come back from four days at the sea, having spent most of it soaking up the wind and flinging myself against the waves till they beat the stress of the last month out of me. Sort of like beating the dust out of a rug.
It’s not that my life is bad — exactly the opposite, I have too many blessings and friendships and passions for them to all fit comfortably into a mere 24 hours per day. And I don’t think the world is falling apart, despite what you see on Facebook.
But I do think my life, and the world, is pregnant with immense change. After years, maybe decades, of gradual, incremental changes, I think a tectonic level of pressure has built up, ready to release with earth-rattling force.
Well, okay then. Whatever change is in the wind, bring it on. If I have come back from my brief vacation with any clarity, it’s that fighting against the tides is good exercise but not much use beyond that.
My level of sang froid about it all probably has to do with the fact that I’ve already had a previous New Madrid moment in my life. Whatever happens, I believe like St. Julian of Norwich that “All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well.”
Julian lived in a time of tremendous darkness and change. It’s likely the only reason we have her writings is because the authorities of her time didn’t feel like a woman, and a hermit to boot, was worth the attention of refuting them. Her gift was a remarkably optimistic vision, of the world as a tiny brown nut, cherished in the hand of its Creator.
I can’t help but think that like me, the world is in fact quite a bit nutty, and still in need of great care.