Hiking in the woods, 10 degrees cooler than it has been for a month--30 % less moisture in the air.  I was hiking more erect, without the weight of the heat and humidity.  It felt more alive, noticing the morning light tickling the trees, listening to the little-bit-tired and stressed leaves scrathing each other.  Then, out of the corner of my eye, a large yellow maple leaf fluttered to the ground.  I glanced up and here and there saw a few more leaves turning brown and yellow.  Still August, but all the signs are there--shorter days and the slightly turning leaves--whispers of what is to come.  

This is the way most change in life occurs--with subtle and hard to notice shifts in the wind or the color.  We hardly notice them till we slow down and look more carefully, listen more closely, taste more fully.  Then we see the change.  Then we see the way some things are fading, making room for new experiences.  These subtle signs of change are gifts when they are noticed--occasions to look back at the summer and savor the gifts--the long and lazy days, the vine-ripe red tomatoes, the herbs from the garden, the cold beer after a hot lawn mow.  Gifts of the warm days of summer.  And this time of change is also a time to anticipate--to imagine the cooler nights and the clearer days, the emerging colors of autumn's decay, the deck parties and fires in the fire-pit.  On the cusp we celebrate memory and hope, sentimentality and imagination.  

What a gift--the slowing down and the noticing--the recalling and the dreaming.  Loss is not always easy, but sometimes it opens us up to  what we have received and what we look forward to.  When we grieve well we notice the signs and we can open ourselves to the new that is emerging.