Something is different this September but I’m not exactly sure what it is. Growing up, Labor Day weekend was fun because of the family gatherings but dreadful because it meant school was starting up again. Decades later, I still had that tinge of dread at this time of year, right up through last year. But I don’t feel it this weekend.

What I do feel is a change in the weather. Sometimes I stop long enough to actually see my surroundings and I notice, without the aid of television news or a calendar, that fall is coming. There is less daylight, shadows are in slightly different places, the squirrels in my yard are busier than usual, geese are flying overhead and there is a slight chill in the air. True, this weekend just happens to be cooler … DC area weather forecasters declared yesterday that this was, indeed, the hottest summer on record - ya think?! … but the hot weather is predicted to return by Tuesday. Even when it does, I’m certain nights will be cooler than they were last week and last month. And there are already a few leaves falling in my yard.

Fall is usually my favorite season. I love the colors and the changes. I love the cleansing feeling that comes with stripping away during fall. This season begins nature’s annual renewal process, sort of like putting dirty clothes in the washer. It all comes out clean and fresh in spring.

Maybe what is different this year is that I will finally do something major that I should have done years ago (more on that later). My own process will emulate Mother Nature’s … I’ll strip away the ‘leaves,’ recharge and renew and blossom into the real me by spring. The past year has been a true test of my patience and that patience has more than run out. The self-discovery journey I began in earnest 18 months ago is reaching a destination. For me, ‘turn the page’ is more than a Bob Seger song or a statement by the President.

Returning to an analogy in the first paragraph of this post, maybe what is different for me this year is that school is not what begins Tuesday; it’s graduation.