ON TRANSITION

IMAGE: WILL SARDINKSY
WORDS: NICOLE STANTON

Aspen leaves outside my window dance like jostling coins, reflecting the yellow of the new September dawn. Clouds collect in the creases of mountaintops, as mist from the valley floor rises to meet them. Today I imagine the evening will taste cool and bright with autumn air, and with that sinks in the arrival of a Colorado fall.

This September marks a shift in the way my life has been ordered thus far. I suppose I am simply being welcomed into the folds of post-graduate life. Transition has always been profoundly difficult for me. And by my fourth year at Wesleyan, my roots felt immovable, pathways unchangeable. In this I found comfort.

Salmon-pink palms wrapped around mugs of coffee.
Watering our one sad succulent each morning (cut in half by a window on move-in day).
Girlish chatting in headstand on Thursday mornings.
Falling asleep to the rhythm of housemates’ footsteps.
Library chair molded to my pretzel-ed legs.
Late night Loam meetings, curled on Kate’s bed. 
Jars of red-wine, friends’ dancing arms and legs around my living room.

 With summer, came time for transition -- one that has been pitched to me as movement away from childhood to adulthood. I find myself only now feeling the effects of this movement, this uprooting, with the arrival of September. Fall has always felt packed with hope, vibrantly colored and cinnamon flavored. Perhaps it has been the start of the school year, and the thrill of being brilliantly reawakened by new knowledge. How amazing though, that fall is in fact a time of preparing for survival. Leaves shed and float down to newly chilled ground, leaving branches bare and ready to endure the cold. My tree knowledge is scant, but today the local paper revealed that the Aspen buds are already there, waiting for the spring. The life that will burst into newness, but for the time being, will be buried under layers of snow, waiting for the melt.

While I sit and feel the life-filled roots of college slough off like snake skins, I cling to this thought. In this moment, I finally recognize the heartache of college’s end, till now blurred by summer’s bliss. I cling to the fact that the joy I felt in throngs of familiarity is here, waiting to be revealed.

In my fourth month in Colorado, my roots are growing.

Skin tanned to match the tops of hiking boots.
Afternoon writing to the sounds of mountain thunder.
Sleeping under the stars is as good as home.

Smell of incense absorbed into the walls of my bedroom.
Gifts from friends waiting on my coffee table.
Waking to find new sunflowers have bloomed on my window sill.