Editorials, Opinion

Time of transition: As it is in nature, so it is in life

Transitions are hard.

In life, in work, in age, in seasons.

Today marks the first official day of fall. The autumnal equinox is equal parts day and night, but after today, the evening darkness will fall faster.

Fall — or autumn, whichever you prefer to call it — is a stable period of transition. We can expect it around the same time every year. The day-to-day weather might be unexpected, but we know the nights will get longer, the mornings and evenings will be cooler — and eventually so will the days — and the trees will begin their splendid transition from summer’s verdant green to fiery autumn’s golds, oranges and reds to winter’s barren browns.

We know the change is coming and we brace for it. We plan our wardrobes around frosty commutes and sweltering mid-afternoons. We ready our rakes and keep an eye on the thermostat. For those with children, we settle into school-year routines.

Sometimes the heat hangs on longer than expected or the snow comes early. Sometimes the weather goes from one extreme to the other over the course of a week, making us wonder if autumn is having an identity crisis.

Even when the day-to-day changes catch us by surprise, we’re not too surprised, because this is what fall is — the transition from summer to winter, smooth or bumpy as it may be.

But some transitions are unexpected.

Sometimes they start with a sudden catalyst — something with the quickness and intensity of a lightning strike — that catches us unprepared. Sometimes they start slow and subtle, then build to a big change and we have time to adjust.

Sometimes transitions are short; sometimes they drag on for years.

Sometimes they are personal; sometimes they are national, even global.

Sometimes transitions are linear — a fairly direct path from here to there. Sometimes transitions are a like a roller coaster, with ups and downs and twists and turns, and even if you end up in roughly the same place as you began, you are not exactly the same as you were before.

Transitions are hard.

Change is hard.

Messy and beautiful, frustrating and inspiring, depressing and joyful.

A necessary part of life, but no less difficult because of the necessity.

As we acknowledge the official start of autumn, remember that trees don’t die in the fall. They undergo their changes, survive their losses, rest for a while and come back again in the spring.

Transitions are hard.

But we make it through.