September started with hot sunny days and the kids going to the bus stop in shorts. Now Jake and Eli are still wearing shorts because they refuse to wear pants, but the weather has turned to crunchy leaves, citrus candles, pumpkin bread, and warm things bubbling on the stove. The evening is coming earlier. The shadows are changing. Every day, summer colors mute further into rusty shades of senescence. I notice the contrast.
Contrast is what gets our attention. I was home by myself for two days while Mike and the boys were on a Boy Scout trip, and the contrast between this weekend and most of our weekends was really quite shocking. I slept in, went hiking, went to Mozart’s house, baked muffins, listened to Podcasts, and remembered what it’s like to think about only one thing at a time. Contrast makes mundane things extraordinary.
Sometimes I wish life had less contrast. To exist in a comfortable shade of grey instead of trying to be equally good at both black and white. Instead of feeling too busy to sleep, too busy to make a real dinner, too busy to feel happy or sad. So far not yet too busy to give a kiss to everyone rolling out of bed in the morning, or a hug as they walk in the door. Hugs from my guys and music lighting up the living room are what keep me going on the busy days.
Folding towels and making beds, feeding the cat and putting away laundry, I remembered that weekend that all those chores become loving details when there is time to do them. So when do pillows become burdens? Pillows should not be burdens. Maybe you know your life has gotten too busy when you don’t have time for pillows. What about when you don’t care whether your kids are sitting at the dinner table without shirts on? That would be “Weekday Busy.” Are we having grilled cheese and hot dogs again?
Fortunately these guys aren’t too busy. Noticing contrast is far from a burden.
There is always time to start a science experiment in the kitchen or to play with the cat.
Busy seems to be a state of mind that only affects adulthood.
But without the busy, there would be no contrast to appreciate the quiet. Quiet could be considered a burden too, if you hadn’t dwelled long enough in its opposite to appreciate languid moments. Like dark and light, old and new, black and white; they depend on each other. Busy and quiet couldn’t happen unless the other one was also there. It is contrast that makes them exist.
What is the value of good without bad? Sweet without salty? What’s the point of smart, without silly?
Maybe the point of this current busy is to appreciate seasons in the future, when a busy day is defined by sitting on a park bench eating bananas.
Those days will come, and the contrast will be appreciated once again. Because really, while grey imparts a sense of calm, if every day was grey it would be kind of boring. The experience of life happens in the colors. And sometimes, you really don’t know the power of colors until they’ve been marked on the wall, or ground into the carpet.
You really don’t know what a good doughnut tastes like unless you’ve also had a bad one.
How did I get from Fall to Doughnuts?
This is the view outside the window. Contrast, crunchy leaves, warm things on the stove; Fall.
Fall is a perfect time for doughnuts!