Last week I was at my lake place and experienced the first glimpse of fall. More like a bright flash-bulb in the face moment than a fuzzy image. One day I pulled a patch of invasive weeds from hard-to-reach spots in the hot sun. The dew point of 71 made it a tropical day, even on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Not the best activity choice, but, when you have limited time to get these chores done, you do them when you can. And, that was my day….my new smart thermostat registered 80 degrees in the house, and then I stopped checking.

Patio and deck furniture stowed away, tansy eradication finished, the rest of the day was spent re-hydrating and watching the big ore boats move on the lake.  Oh, and reading of course. R & R for the weary. 

And, then I was blessed with the hint of a storm coming in. This one from the south dumping lots of rain and moving slow. Watching the sky darken, when you can see so much of it, is always thrilling to me. Being cabin-bound with nowhere else to be—a gift. Hearing the wind through the trees, and the lake start to churn…music to my ears. The first drops of rain on the roof, a promise kept.  

As the evening progressed, the dew point dropped and the house cooled off. Windows were opened to the fresh air, and the announced storm yielded no damaging winds but some much needed rainfall.  

The morning brought an air temperature of 54 degrees; dew point lower by 20 points. The overnight rain and wind brought down lots of yellow aspen leaves, and fall was in the air. Big Time. Sweatshirt weather.

Pulling out long jeans and dressing in layers to walk the lake walk, I felt a swell of energy to get on with it. This is the time of year I always consider the beginning again. Perhaps it’s the academic calendar that I followed for so long as a student, teacher, mom, and now grandmother that keeps this time of year a special one of renewal for me.

“Soup and Sox” weather is just around the corner.  I love the change of seasons, which keeps me in Minnesota for the spectacle of brilliant fall colors, the challenge of hard winters, the total surprise of spring daffodils coming out from the snow, and the fabulous summers.

But, now it’s time for school to start again.

For some parents, this marks the occasion for their last child to leave the nest. This event is often bittersweet for all parties. Children anxious to leave, yet, somewhat panicky about what happens next. Parents proud to launch their child, yet a bit unnerved about what it means for their own lives.

In my novel, A Better Next as Jess, the protagonist, is celebrating the launch of her youngest to his first choice college, an acquaintance of hers expresses this angst at a going-away party.  

“I’m having a hard time with this, are you? I feel silly, but this empty nest thing has me so emotional. It’s like I’ve been looking forward to having some ‘me time’ for years, and now it scares me to think of him gone. I’m worried I’m gonna go crazy.”

 In a future post, I’ll be writing about relationship challenges that occur with this empty nest stage, a theme from A Better Next. Meanwhile, enjoy this last gasp of summer!