Several nights ago, I dreamed that I found two tiny bird eggs abandoned on the ground, in danger of being trampled. They were as small as my thumbs and powdery blue.
I picked them up gently to carry them to safety and set them on a shaded bench, where they suddenly began to hatch before I’d expected. One gold beak peeked out after the other, cracking quietly through their shells, the chicks’ necks emerging slowly from the cool blue shadows and craning left and right for sunlight.
I remember worrying that I wasn’t sure how to care properly for those precious baby birds. I remember fearing that they might have been born too early to survive.
But mostly, I remember the bittersweet blueness of those tiny, perfect eggs before they fractured; the fragility of that soft phase just before impending change. Their vulnerable impermanence made them precious. Whether crushed by strangers’ feet or collapsing from within, those eggs were fated to fall apart, the way all sweet shells must ultimately crumble so that life can see the light — so that blue can give way to gold.
Mid-September is a strange time of in-between. It’s no longer the juicy peach of sweet summer at its ripest, when it’s lush-leafed and sticky, but it’s not yet the crisp crunch of fall. The sky seems to hold its breath, whispering slivered hints of minty breezes that slice through the lingering heat like wire through clay. Slice, slice, slice — with the promise of the eventual release of a cool, refreshing sigh. For now, we wait.
Before green leaves turn to gold, the world seems to pause in a state of blue. It’s the soft blue of the transition; the indigo of in-between; the delicate robin’s egg of “not yet” but “eventually” and “almost” and “I hope.” It’s a quiet, fragile shade between summer’s grassy jade and autumn’s copper, wavering between here and there. There’s a serene quality to it and a sweetness to the hushed anticipation, but also an awareness that the blue won’t last. That the calm will collapse. That the peaceful prescience of “eventually” will have to crack, whenever the universe says, “GO.”
I keep leaving my apartment in overzealous outfits of long jeans and sweaters, then returning home mid-day to switch to shorts and tank tops, startled and blinking like a baby bird still learning the world’s fickleness. That’s what change is always like. Shaky. Wavering. It’s almost impossible to feel properly prepared.
I’m trying to take it step by step, crack by crack, giving into the inconsistency of the crumbling. To savor sipping spicy chai tea in cashmere and slippers each morning, then spending afternoons bare-legged and sunny-armed, crunching ice cubes in cold brew. To enjoy being neither here nor there: the excitement of it. The deliciousness of the discomfort of not quite knowing when the switch will turn for good. The thrilling impermanence of “eventually” and “almost” and “I hope.”
By now, I should be used to the blue mood of transitions. This past year has been one in which inconstancy is my life’s only true constant. Just when I think my routine is solid and resolved, just when I think I know who I am and what I want, the ground seems to quake underneath me. I am always breaking my own serene shells, craning left and right for the clarity of sunlight.
My sister just moved to Scotland to begin her two-year graduate school program and is settling into a new apartment, not to mention a new timezone. In Facebook messages, I reminded her of the way I felt when I moved into to my current place about sixteen months ago: blue. I picked out this apartment, and I was thrilled with it: its neighborhood, its fire escapes, its quirks. But still, blue.
I felt the same when I left my first full-time job after months of eager anticipation. The same when I graduated from college and moved to New York. All changes — the predetermined ones, even when they’re self-chosen and desired — are a bit blue. There’s something blue about that in-between, when you’re shifting but not settled.
I have a quote by Paul Coelho written on a sticky note, taped to my window where I see it each morning: “The important stuff stays.”
Those words are the red raft I hold onto when I’m drowning deep in blue, feeling like I’m losing myself in ocean waves of in-between. The important stuff stays. That’s what I remember when I sense the shaky beginnings of an important change, but I can’t control its pace or its precise outcome; when I crave a semblance of stability; when I need strength over fragility.
Even as you transition into new versions of yourself, even as you grow and crumble, even as you stumble into newness you’re not properly prepared for — your essential psyche stays solid. The strongest parts of you will last. In fact, a vulnerable blue period might be the best way to uncover internal stability and to learn the lasting keys to your you-ness.
Besides, eventually, blue always breaks open to gold.