I think this time of year--when seasons and cycles are eminent--I'm reminded (or convinced) of how flat and predictable my life has become. Gone are the days when each new season presents new teachers, new classmates, new and different subjects to study, new lessons to learn.
For many youth, there's always an end in sight--end of semester, end of school-year, end of summer--signifying soon thereafter a new beginning.
I remember the first year out of college when fall no longer meant a imminent change, when life stages became nebulous and no longer relied on the scholastic calendar to shape its edges. I was uneasy at the uncertainty of it all.
These days I've come to realize that to make change happen in my life, rather than wait for someone else to tell me when and how to start afresh or new, I have to evoke the change myself. I still get caught up in calendars to guide me through the haze (New Year's resolution) but these guidances are short-lived.
No, the true life changes must come from within. They must be genuine. And believe it or not, timing has a lot to do with it, but not in the traditional sense that can be measured. Rather, timing in the sense of "right time, right place" that just allows things to come together.
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I was thinking about changes on my drive home from work today. (I've been thinking about changes for a while now. Changes that need to happen. But I wasn't sure I was ready yet.)
Suddenly I came upon my favorite dairy farm wedged between the beauteous towns of Shelburne and Charlotte and noticed several cars parked alongside the road. This is not an uncommon occurrence since the views from this vantage point--of Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains--are spectacular and drivers-by are often lured to photograph the scenery.
This time, however, I wondered what everyone was looking at, and just as I did, I looked over and saw about ten feet from the road, a massive Holstein cow laying on her side in the field. All the other lady cows were grazing contentedly nearby. But then I saw the farmer was there kneeling beside her and I wondered if she was ill. It made me sad to think it. What will they do with her, I wondered, knowing full well what they would do with a sick cow.
But just as I passed this quiet scene, the very second in fact that I passed the slight man next to his heaving lady, I saw him fall back with a jerk--like a cork coming unstuck from the bottle--with the full weight and shiny placenta of a baby calf on top of him.
The poor old bag was giving birth, that's all.
Was this curious event meant to be a sign? I do realize the innate cliché of using a birth story to symbolize new beginnings. This is very unoriginal. But what really struck me wasn't so much the event of the birth itself, but the timing of it and the way in which it occurred--as though the energy of me driving by aligned perfectly with the cow's contractions and the farmer's struggles and the calf's shape to create a force strong enough to heave hoe that baby bundle to life.
The powers aligned, the physics inspired me, and the timing was perfect. At the same time that this seasoned mama cow's life is about to change for the season, so is mine. I'm ready for it.
It might be so subtle that only I can feel the shifting wind of change, but it will be there all the same--like the ever-present weight of gravity.