Late Summer Rain

Red Delicious Apple, 2022.

It is a bit weird, although correct, to call it late summer. Autumn doesn’t begin until Sept. 22 this year.

We had lightning and rain overnight. The ground remains wet this morning. Leaves on deciduous trees have begun to turn. Yellow wildflowers along the state park trail got frosted, even if it wasn’t cold enough for frost.

There were overnight thunderstorms in the county seat, enough to halt the big football game at Kinnick Stadium — three lightning delays totaling 236 minutes in duration. The home team shut out the opponent once the game resumed after midnight.

Today, I’m considering what’s next.

We are out of the coronavirus pandemic as much as we will be. While Governor Kim Reynolds was early, her Feb. 3 declaration that the coronavirus was to become normalized in daily, routine public health operations on Feb. 15 is a convenient bookend to a distinct phase of my life: The Coronavirus Pandemic Time.

I’ll continue to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested if there are any. If I get the virus, I’ll follow Centers for Disease Control protocols for isolation and treatment. I’ll continue to wear a face mask inside crowded retail establishments, and wear a mask indoors when with groups of people and the local risk is high. Periodic immunizations will become part of the fall health regimen the way influenza immunizations have been. That’s that.

The main consideration is how I will spend time going forward. During the pandemic I developed a routine that varies little from day to day. Events and activities from the world outside my routine seem like an intrusion. I want to contribute to society, yet not in the same way I have since my retirement from transportation in 2009. Solving this problem, the problem of how to engage in society, begins with shedding the old skin of a life lived well yet has become obsolete.

First comes a shedding of the past and remainders of past engagements. This is neither quick nor easy. It turns out it is difficult to leave a group to which so much of oneself has been given to create. Old habits die hard, as the saying goes. I’ve been at this for more than a year and there is a long way to go.

Next is to determine what’s most important. That’s not easy either. It is work that comes after late summer rain.