The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer.
George R. R. Martin
When the calendar flips to August, the days of summer are
numbered – literally and figuratively. Now
as we are in the last week of the month, the signs of “Back to School” are
really ramping up. Summer camps have ended, ads for school supplies are more
plentiful both on TV and in print, and there is talk of getting those last
beach days in over the Labor Day weekend.
When you live in Southeastern Pennsylvania you need to keep
your eyes peeled for another sign that autumn will soon be upon us – deer on
the move. I took this picture of some
young deer taking in the sights of a local neighborhood one recent August
afternoon. There was one male and two females
scampering down the sidewalk and up into a driveway and backyard. One little lady must have been camera shy
because she hid behind that large tree.
Seeing the deer, reminds me that my mostly unscheduled days
are coming to an end. While others may be sad and lamenting the end of summer,
I am feeling renewed. I am looking forward to setting off on an academic adventure
with my new students, cool days and even cooler nights, sweatshirts and
I am so lucky to live in an area where I get to experience the
changing climate of all four seasons. When I see the deer on the move, I know
we are moving closer to my favorite season of the year – autumn.
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.
What do you see? Are your eyes drawn to the darkness of the clouds? Maybe you are worried about a torrential downpour or a tornado. Both are valid worries given the look of those clouds. Even here in Pennsylvania we have had some unusually wild weather with hail, flash-flooding and even a few stray tornadoes touching down. We have had some tragic loss of life and destruction of property.
Or are you drawn to the brightness peeking through the storm clouds? You can look at the sky with hope and trust that even if it does rain, the sun will appear at some point.
This can be a metaphor for life. Sometimes we are hopeful and looking for the spots of sunshine each day, and other days we are caught up in the swirling storm clouds. They are not mutually exclusive. We can experience a little of both, but what we choose to focus on depends on our frame of mind.
In my life, not many things are black or white. I tend to always think in shades of gray which isn’t always helpful when I am trying to make a decision, yet I believe it makes me more thoughtful and compassionate.