Everything changes. That is an overused platitude that is supposed to be a comfort when you are uncomfortable with a shift, or suddenly moved from one state of being to another. The new place might be just fine but you aren’t used to it and you have to adjust. ‘Everything changes,’ someone will say as if to convey that sense of ‘get over it and move on.’ That’s fine, you don’t want to dwell on what is not, better to be present with what is. But maybe you do need to pause and feel the shift, to notice that things are moving, changing, to observe where you have been, make sure you know where you are going, notice how you feel.
For the last four years we have been in an unpleasant dry spell where I live. The rains have not come when they are supposed to and things have stayed pretty much dry and warm month in and month out. The months that are supposed to be cool have been pleasant and warm, the months that are supposed to be warm have been dry and hot. We never have much in the way of seasons here but we have subtle shifts that feel distinct. We have not had those to speak of for the last few years and I miss it. I get confused when I see the crepe myrtles blooming and realize that must mean it is late summer because it has felt like summer for so long. The prunus blooms sometime after the new year, it should be winter and I don’t understand the shock of pink blossoms in the early dark of a season that doesn’t make sense. This weather is a change too. I don’t like it, I prefer my kind of seasons and the letting go of the long-warm days for the introspection of the close and darkening winter months. But the planet is changing and accepting my new weather reality means I have to shift in how I like to experience the solar shifts. I can do that, I have no choice.
Three days ago I put the keys to the minivan in the hands of someone new. It will now be the car for a growing family, and I hope that it will serve them well. When the van came to us my daughter was 6, my son was 3. It took us to Tahoe, it took us camping, it roamed the southwest, transported four dogs over its time, held soccer teams and baseball teams and football gear, ski equipment, carpools, rooms full of ikea furniture. It smelled of dog and teenage boy before I had it cleaned. With no more dogs or teenage boys it should stay clean smelling for at least a little while.
I never really liked the van. I didn’t want to be a minivan driver, there was some ego involved in that. It was not a sexy car, neither was it particularly fun to drive. It was perfect for what it was though: family transport with young children. I drove that van for over a decade. It saw my daughter become a woman, she drove it on the day she turned 18, and it was the first car my son sat behind the wheel of, starting his driver training at 15. I’m not a minivan driver anymore, that has changed and I am glad. My new car is a little sexy, and a lot of fun to drive. And when I looked out the window on Saturday morning last to see the driveway empty of a big green van I felt the change. It was there to help raise up the babies, and now they are grown. It was there for the family trips and now those will be different. Apricot the dog might feel it the most because she will no longer be riding in a captain’s seat, it’s the back of the car for her from here on out.
My son is very empathetic, he saw that I was feeling something, just a shift in time and he let me hug him. No small kindness from a fifteen year old boy. He is taller than me now so I rested my head on his shoulder and my body remembered all the days of holding him, holding her, those baby heads on my shoulder, tucked under my chin and I sighed. I’m glad the van is gone, it did its job so very well; I am grateful for that. The van is gone, those days are over, I wouldn’t want to not change but it is a lot to feel when all of a sudden you realize how much has changed.