Living in the Moment

Summer is waning in the Pacific Northwest. It’s getting darker earlier. The morning chill of autumn is right around the corner. I avoid planning for the fall blues and instead try to live in the moment.

It’s not working.

The blues are creeping into my skin as summer bids farewell. I love summer for the brilliant days and warm evenings and for the bursts of energy that fill my days.

I sleep little in the summer, eager to load up on gardening, writing, hiking, biking and cooking for family and friends. I’m at my best: lean and focused.

Each morning it gets light just a little later. I don’t use an alarm and rise with the sun but the days begin dreary and colorless. A bike ride rids the blues and now I need a jacket to ward off the cool.

The blues are inevitable despite my attempts to live in the moment.

Yet fall has its glory, like the promise of renewal as the garden vegetables get ready to tuck in their seeds for next year. My house nudges me to button down for a few months of nesting and I resist at first. I want to savor the warm nights and the best flavors of summer as the apricots and peaches and tomatoes peak.

The blues remind me of pending solitude so I divert their attention by filling my calendar with concerts and lectures, making appointments to stave off loneliness.

I create little lies that alone isn’t lonely: it’s strong, resilient. Sexy, even.

Mustering my inner strength I plan my journeys solo. My beau has dangled the promise of two but his dreams unfold from some foreign tale outside my grasp.

My language springs from the grammar of family. My mother tongue needs more than one voice. His dialect greets solitude with a nod, and, after four summers, I’m beginning to understand the hidden meanings. They emerged from his book, just minted. He declares his love in the dedication.

Dedicated to his cat.


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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