As I locked the back door, I heard the sudden ssshushh in the tops of the deciduous forest behind my condominium. What was that? A storm signaling? Like that day and the days before it and the days before those, it was another hot one in August. I put my keys and wallet into the steam-oozing car and stepped out into the alleyway. I looked up. There it was again, this time I captured the evidence: summer-worn leaves bending at the will of the wind.
And then I saw it. Down the ally a bit. A single green leaf brimmed in yellow floating down from the forest top.
It surprises me like this every year. Summer is hot, busy, brimming. Then, like clockwork, too soon, schools open and usher in a new busyness. The leaf or some tell-tale citadel of Mother Nature announces that she’s sloughing off her tired heavy garments. It will be a months-long process. But that first sign always makes my heart stop a moment, my time deserving of a pause to appreciate what was and the coming of change.
There’s man. There’s nature. There’s god. There’s the Tao. All one. Like nature, we have seasons. If we pay attention, they sync. Grace and I are sloughing off the weary burdens of two decades, minus one, of schooling. The institutional kind. Change is very much the theme of each day as we carve out our new lives, mother-daughter team forging ahead.*
*This spring/summer, Grace like 50,000 individuals with autism, alone, per year in the U.S., and 500,000 in 10 years, exited their school system supports forever. For most, systemic adequate supports for employment, housing, community/life engagement are not yet in place.