At the beginning of June we all experienced how at the beginning of summer it is hard to stay focused and responsible. This is because the whole natural world is breathing out. That expansion went a long way, and hopefully you had some opportunities to branch out, explore, and melt a little. That felt good, but just now, in the last few days, it is beginning to shift. Did you feel it? There are outer changes accompanying it–the days are getting noticeably shorter now, and if you look, the plant life has stopped growing up and out–so the whole gesture of the season is subtly different. For the plants, this cessation of growth does not mean that their activity has stopped, but it is now related more to refining the quality of what is already there. This is a time for ripening: grapes are starting to soften and sweeten, pears find a blush of color.
We of course are experiencing these changes too. But our transitions are more free, and therefore more able to feel fretful because we are not purely guided by the rhythms of nature outside. Part of us may say–“No! Summer can't be coming to an end! I'm not ready!” While other parts (this is all within the same human being) can already feel all the important things that need to be done, that it is time to get down to business, and start storing our nuts and berries for the fall. The result? To be trying to still expand out in joy and contract back in duty all at the same time. This can certainly make the last weeks of summer feel frenetic, but recognizing that this is not a time for big new gardening projects probably helps.
So how best to support your own sanity in this transition time? Follow nature's model and think about ripening. Instead of focusing on all of the new things that should happen but haven't yet (which will probably have to be next year's fruit), focus on some of the things you have in hand–habits, interests, projects–and work to ripen them a little more. Make them better, make them whole; try to complete the process with them. That will bring a feeling of satisfaction. But it doesn't need to be everything. The demands of fall with its drive for new deeds and interactions will come soon enough. Its ok to feel a little bit like you have a foot in two worlds: don't totally abandon summer–plan some final hikes or adventures to round out your expansion. But also finish cleaning out or organizing that project you started but haven't quite finished. Bring it to “fruition.” It will feel good.