It happens every year. At the first hint of fall -- the first time I notice the changing light in my workroom, the first night the temperatures drop below 60 degrees -- I start to feel a little edgy, even a little crazy. I have to remind myself: it's September, the ninth month, the birthing month. Whatever has been gestating this year is getting ready to emerge.
Gather yourself, I say. You've done this before. Breathe, breathe.
In childbirth lingo this period of crazy intensity that comes at the peak of labor is called transition. Such a gentle word. Such an out-of-control experience.
So what is it I've been gestating this year?
The other day I dragged out my ambitious projects and works-in-progress that have languished for much of the summer in the recesses of my heat-enfeebled mind. I shook them out in the crisp air of autumn and tried them on for size. Are they still comfortable? Are they too small? Do they feel constricting, or are they so baggy and ill-defined I can't find myself for all the shapelessness?
Yes, yes, yes and yes. (I know: crazy.)
For the past two years this transitional ritual of mine has come on the heels of a five-day unschoolers conference in North Carolina, which has made the process of transition all the more challenging. Both times Dragonstar and I have returned from Live & Learn, I've stumbled through a period during which nothing from before seems to quite align with my returning self. Time spent among a tribe of like-minded souls clarifies my perspective: it's like getting a new pair of glasses after making do for too long with an out-of-date prescription. When I get back home, things look different.
So I'm fumbling along, carried on that wave of transitional momentum, feeling a little out of my element. Like the last few weeks of pregnancy, nothing really fits. My world is suddenly very big, and my work feels far too small in relation.
How did this happen?
As Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes said, day by day nothing seems to change, but pretty soon everything's different.