Was it some sort of eerie coincidence that put the departure of my son for his second year of college on the same day as my wife's for her college reunion? That collegiate connection suggests something darker, more sinister. A conspiracy of some sort, generated to poke holes in all that family security we had piled up over the past three months. Now we really can say that summer is gone. I am working hard to remain relaxed and confident with my place in the universe. I am also struck by how much coincidence, conspiracy and confidence look the same. Eerie, I tell you.
Or maybe it's just that time of year, when the leaves begin to turn, and fall to the ground reminding us of life's impermanence. Nothing golden stays, after all. All things must pass. There are no atheists in foxholes. And any one of a million other sentiments created with the intent of bringing comfort to the lonely.
This is a tough one, since I have spent most of my adult life trying to limit these periods of alone time. I got a wife. I raised a kid. And how do they repay me? By going off into their own little worlds of fun and excitement while I bounce off the walls in this house that used to be so full. Or had the potential to be full. The truth is, on any given day, it sits empty for long periods, waiting for the family to come back and fill it up. Last year, when the boy went away to school for the first time, the nest was empty except for us parental birds. We stayed away from the back of the house to stave off the obvious void that had been created. This summer, we celebrated each coming and going as we went about our mom/dad/son business. When one of us was gone to work or play, there was always a moment at some point during the day or night before we went to sleep where we would gather and reflect, however briefly, on the events of the day.
And now, since we built this amazing foundation, we feel determined to test it.
I am happy that my family is out there in the world, expanding our collective experience and introducing others to the wonder of our clan. I am glad that I have this chance to ponder my own quiet existence. I just wish it wasn't so darn quiet.