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     Summer is fading.  For the first time, a week ago, I woke up and the temperature in the house was sixty-seven degrees.  It's definitely time to kick up the thermostat a notch or two.  I love this time of year, especially in Connecticut where the seasonal changes are so distinct.  I've been up here all summer and it's been long and warm, but I'm more than ready for a change.  Change is what's in the air as I think about heading back to Dallas. 

     Small dog, Charlotte, senses it too and when I open the door this morning she shoots out into the yard invigorated by the near-frosty air.  I can't help but smile as I watch her chase along the edges of the flower beds on the hunt for morning squirrels and chipmunks.  She pauses for a long time at one of my Hydrangea plants and I notice the deer tracks in the mulch below it.  My eyes pan up and I see that one side of the plant has been well chomped on during the night.  I remind myself to get out the deer spray later.

     Grabbing a shawl I keep on my desk chair, I wrap it around my shoulders, a hot mug of tea cradled in both hands.  I love this place so much.  It's been my anchor for many years, but I'm satiated with the time I'm able to spend here and I'm ready to go.  I'm looking forward to getting back to Dallas, to my friends and family there.  The weather will still be warm when I return, but comfortable, and I think about how nice it will be to take my reading to the deck and work outside.

     I used to have a lot of emotions coming and going and sometimes it wasn't easy.  Once connections are formed with people and places, it's always difficult to say goodbye.  There's a small sign that's been hanging near the kitchen window for years that says:  "Home is Where the Heart is."  I picked it up in a small shop near Detroit Lakes, Mn. on my way to Fargo to visit my parents.  I never tire of it.  For me, it's a reminder of what gives people, places and things their meaning.  I can be anywhere and as long as there is a heart connection, it's good!

     But change is still hard, even good change and that's the funny thing.  It's not easy, but it's really what makes us grow.  Staying open to it makes it easier to accept some of the more difficult changes that life doles out, the unexpected and the inevitable.  I know that I can embrace much more than I ever imagined when I let it in ... take a deep breath and move forward.

     Charlotte is running across the grass full-gallop.  She's done and ready to come inside and as I hold open the door, I'm hit with a rush of the cold, outside air.  I'm heading back to the kitchen for another cup of tea.  Today I'll pull down her carrying case, begin gathering up my folders, sorthing through books and clothes I think I'll need in Texas, getting ready to go.

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