It's been a wonderful fall. It seemed every tree has burst out in bright, hypnotizing gold this year, with hardly any red or orange, and I've been able to witness a lot of it. I'm immensely grateful to have the sort of work/life schedule where I can go out and enjoy the crisp air and changing colors and shocking beauty of fall.
Unlike other years where I've had to tamp down my agony about the colder weather, for once, I was happy to put the summer behind me and walk into the future. In all honestly, this past spring and summer were maybe the most difficult I've traversed in my happy, comfortable first-world life.
It's been a bit of a transition, leaving behind a good career and bustling office for a better career but lonelier landscape. Saying goodbye to my mare and finding her a better fit ultimately led to me taking a break from what has been an emotional, physical, social, therapeutic outlet and passion for me for many years, which in turn meant losing regular contact with my closest friends. I lost so many healthy things, including a part of my identity. For many months I felt very lonely without ever actually being alone. Every blazing hot day was a reminder of the life outside that was not for me, but for someone else.
As the baby has become a better communicator and more physically capable of an adventure, the road has gotten easier. We're adventure buddies instead of shut-ins - though ideally she'll be able to take a longer car ride soon without losing her mind.
I'm making peace with my reality instead of mourning it, appreciating my unquiet solitude rather than cursing it. Motherhood has not come naturally to me, nor the lifestyle that accompanies it, but The Beatles have assured me that all you need is love, and I can offer that to my baby in spades.
I used to always think that the people who lost their identities in marriage and family life did so because there was something toxic about the inner dynamic. That only codependency and/or a low self esteem could cause a person to disappear into another identity. I feel I'm in a happy marriage to a good person, and have a loving, hilarious daily kinship with both my people. But I also see how I've lost the "other" thing that existed before all this, and it's an idea I'm eager to explore.
I may not have the capacity at this moment for my barn life, but I have to find the bandwidth for the rest of me. I have to make time for my inner voice, and I have to remember the joy I found in sharing it.
This space may yet turn into a ghost town again in three weeks, but for my own sake, I hope not. After 15 years of dedicated journal writing and blogging, I think there's an ominousness to the quiet.
A peek at our golden life on the Jordan River trail near Utah Lake: