The signs of change are everywhere. The subtle foreshadowing has been with us for weeks. The sun sets earlier; there is a crisp undertone to the sun’s warmth; an extra layer is needed as you leave the house. Then there are the not-so subtle signs with Halloween candy in stores, pumpkin spice lattes reappearing in coffee shops and yellow school buses back on the roads. The signs of change are everywhere. Summer has gracefully slid into fall as we mark this predictable change today with the Autumnal Equinox.
There is something soothing about this seasonal change. There is a known rhythm and predictable personal experiences. Here in the Pacific Northwest, days with clouds, rain and wind are dotted with days of sunshine. Trees transform into rusty hues. Pants and sleeves get longer. Socks re-emerge from darkened drawers. Sandals are given a rest as shoes and boots take up the charge of carrying us with each step.
The seasonal debate is hotly contested in some circles with individuals taking sides with either summer or fall. Some look to this time with expectation, anticipation and relief and for others it is tinged with sadness, lament and grief. Regardless of seasonal preference, this changing time is consistent, known and predicable. Though some may complain, the understanding is deeply anchored in our soul that without fall, there is no winter. Without winter, there is no spring and then summer. This is the next season that God has put before us.
God has given us such a wonderful example of steady and gradual change as the seasons start, continue, and come to an end. And while some would prefer summer to linger, we all adapt our lives to this rhythm of steady change. I reflect on my own orientation to seasonal transformation and other change. Do I orient myself towards the ending nature that comes with change? Or do I see it as the possibilities of newness? Intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally, I know it is both, but where do I focus my energy in moments of change?
A definitive answer eludes my self-reflective inquiry, mostly because the possible responses are as varied as the situations themselves. As of late, I am not sure that I consider, acknowledge, or even mark the endings and beginnings that come with change. The ongoing bombardment of change and needed adaptation has become a new rhythm in our lives with little time to lament or grieve that which concludes or consider with curiosity the possibilities of what might unfold in newness.
As the seasons change, may we pause with God in all that is changing in our lives. May we mark our endings with kindness and gentleness and listen with openness to the Holy Spirt moving in all things new.
Karla Koon is a Worship Leader and Eucharistic Minister at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, in the Greenlake neighborhood of Seattle. When not serving at church or working as the Director of HR Operations and Administration for Catholic Community Services of Western Washington (Catholic Charities), you can find Karla, reading, quilting, golfing, hiking, kayaking, and gathering with friends and family.