This might be my favorite time of the year, these early days of autumn. The mornings and evenings are cool--a couple of times, now, they've even been chilly--but days are still warm. And yet...the late afternoon sunlight is a particularly brilliant yet gentle golden, as though it's apologizing for the harsh summer months and trying to encourage us to soak up what little warmth remains before winter sets in. The crickets still chirp at night; not the loud clamor of high summer, and rather fewer of them, but they are still their, making their noises quietly and persistently as though saying, "We will continue our song until the bitter end."
It's a beautiful early fall evening right now, and I am reminded of a fall evening from my very early years. It must be one of my very first memories--I was three, or perhaps four. We were still living in Ohio. My mom was getting me ready for bed, and insisting I wear an undershirt under my nightgown because the nights were getting cooler. I remember looking over her shoulder at the open window in my bedroom, seeing the dark night beyond my cozy little world, feeling the chill night air, knowing she was right.
It's a beautiful fall evening right now, and for me at least, it is a beautiful day to be alive. And oh, how rotten I feel, thinking that. At least 59 people are no longer here to enjoy life on this peaceful evening. Their lives ended yesterday, their peace shattered. I wish that I could believe that they have never-ending peace, now, but I don't have any certainty of that. I know that we who are left have even less peace and security than we had before (and really, those were and are only illusions), and I know that many of us sit in our homes, and look out our open windows into the chilly autumn evening, and know that it's a dark night that lies beyond our cozy little world. And not all of us have the privilege of a cozy little world.
I'm sad, I'm distressed, I'm exhausted. I imagine most of us are--and probably for a lot longer than just the last 24 hours. I don't know what to do; I only know that I can close my eyes against this gentle autumn night and wake tomorrow and rise and meet the day with a desire to act with courage and a strong moral compass and compassion. Maybe that's all I can do. Maybe that's all any of us can do. Or maybe that that is the bare frickin minimum.
May we all retire to our beds tonight, safe and loved. May we all wake tomorrow to wrest whatever beauty we can from this chaotic world. May we all survive to see another beautiful autumn evening tomorrow. And may we rest our heads tomorrow night knowing we did all we personally could to set this world to rights.