At 7 o’clock each morning, like clockwork, the neighbor’s dog starts barking. Deep and hollow, his bark carries across the street and through our open window. I lay in bed wondering what house he lives in? What is so troubling in his backyard that he has to wake the rest of the neighborhood? Why has he not been taught proper social cues for living in a town? His owners let him carry on like this for half an hour, then promptly call him inside at 7:30. And with his silence, I rise and begin my day.
The skies are gray this morning as if someone has taken a paint roller across the cityscape. I had expected sun and warmth this morning like the days before, but I was wrong. Michigan weather is always unpredictable. Even my peace lily, sitting beside an open window in the kitchen, is taken by surprise this morning. Without the ability to form goosebumps, like those that run down my arms, the peace lily protects itself from the cold by curling its large green leaves together. The seasons are changing and we all must adjust. No more open windows at night to let in the fresh air, I suppose. Nature, like always, has something big planned for the month of September.
June Bea has learned to walk over the past few weeks. First slowly and with great caution. Always, as she walked from me to Sean, she would get half way then laugh with excitement, which would cause her to fall to the ground, too happy to complete her route. But now, after much practice, taking steps seems a natural instinct for her. And now, as Sean and I watch in awe, she maneuvers herself around the kitchen and into the living room, constantly on a mission. It took June awhile to learn to walk, but we were in no hurry. I knew that when she was ready, truly ready, her mind would teach her muscles what to do automatically. And it did. when I think about, I can’t help but notice that her new phase of life is mirrored by the new season around us. “You learned to walk in the heat of the fall,” I imagine myself telling her one day. “You began in the heat of the dog days of summer, but as the world cooled and changed, you began to master your steps. And you walked into the fall with confidence and excitement.”
Earlier this week, as we waited for Sean in the airport lobby, June walked around and around and around, waving at strangers and repeating, “hi hi hi” to anyone who would catch her eye (and to those who ignored her as well). I joked to three men that she was running for president and they replied that she had their vote. It is a strange time in America right now, where everyone seems willing to discuss political discontent. It is hard to stay positive sometimes when so many people feel so strongly. But, in a room filled with people she did not know, June took the opportunity to explore and test her new legs. Babies cannot always read the emotions of angst and the tones of sarcastic disappointment. They can only respond to the demands of their bodies and their mind. She paced the airport, happily, not weary or timid like so many of the adults around her. And I so admire this about her. Her natural response to any situation is to go all in and to be happy in the process of trying. Perhaps if we all tried a little more to capture the spirit of childhood, greater joy would befall our days.
This morning, I watch June walk across our living room floor, her steps solid and mechanical like the hands on a clock, pitter patter, tick tock, pitter patter, tick tock. It is hard to know what the next season will bring. All I can truly expect is change and growth. While I admire the trying efforts that accompany learning new tasks, I will hold on to today for all it has to offer. Tick tock, pitter patter, tick tock.