I took this picture on Monday afternoon.
I had just gotten off the train and instead of turning left to go to my parking lot, I turned right to go pick up my car from the dealership conveniently located right next to the train station where my car was waiting for me after an oil change.
This is a picture I quite like, so I have looked at it a lot since Monday. I guess it must have been cloudy for most of the day in White Plains, but just as the sun started to set the clouds started to burn away and for a few minutes the sky looked like this. It was breathtaking, and the picture doesn't nearly do it justice.
But this post isn't about a beautiful sunset dotted with storm clouds. Not really, anyway.
It's about time.
Because the first thing I thought after taking the picture was that for the first time since we turned the clocks forward in March, the sun was starting to set before my regular train pulled into the station. For the first time in six months, I needed my headlights to drive home. For the first time since spring, the air is chilly when I leave my house in the morning and on my way home, and a few enterprising leaves have already started their turn towards the wild colors that mark the changing of the season.
School buses are driving the streets of my neighborhood again and pumpkin donuts are back. I just got a coupon in the mail for 99 cent apple cider and the candy aisle of my grocery store has taken on a distinctive orange and yellow hue. And probably most glaringly, two weeks from tonight I will be sitting around the dinner table with my family in Pittsburgh to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.
And despite all that, it kind of still feels like summer just started. Like two minutes ago we were driving with the top down, headed to Washington for our Memorial Day celebrations.
Time is a funny thing.
Because way back in April, time seemed to stop. The days felt like years - every moment an eternity - and I thought that maybe I was destined to live in April for the rest of my life. But I wasn't, of course. Because time moves on, and time heals, and April became May and as the world came back alive after a frigid winter and a spring too cold for all of winter's ice to melt, so did I.
And summer started with its sweaty days and balmy nights and I felt better than I had in months, and I had summer to thank for that. And even though summer seemed to fly, I tried to be present in my moments and in my days. To make memories of the season that brought me back to life; that made me laugh and smile and appreciate the place where I was, where I live my life and the people I have chosen to live it with. And I was. And I did.
But time marches on.
So here we are. Moving into the season where the world turns golden brown, the air is spicy, football is back, and jackets are necessary, even though it feels like summer just started yesterday. But today, I feel ok about that. Because for the first time in a long time, I am happy and healthy and focused on what is happening right now; not what I want to happen or wish would happen or what might happen at some point in the future, but right now.
Like a picture of storm-clouds on sunset.
So the sun can set as early as it wants and I'll even open my coat closet for the first time in months. I'll wear a sweatshirt when I sit outside, and switch my Saturday morning coffee from iced to hot. I'll pull out my long-sleeved running shirts and watch as my gardener switches from lawn mower to rake.
And these things are ok. These things are good.
Because this is where I am right now. And these are the moments that matter.