Stories from the corner of 37th and Nicollet

Adjusting to the New Routine

Although the first few cool August evenings should have been enough to remind me, I once again find myself getting surprised by the next adjustments into fall.   I really shouldn’t be so surprised after all; I’ve had over 50 times of seeing fall come around.



Having been a seasonally focused restaurant means I’ve learned to wait for certain tastes and then enjoying them until they’re gone for another year.  Having had many years of school teaching as my calendar, I also know the seasonality of scheduling for myself and others around class work and class time.  I’ve sent my children off to school for the past 20 years, although this fall is the last one as my son enters his final year of college. And then there’s that stunning natural finish to a growing season with loads of harvest and bright colors and a sudden run into dormancy and death.

So why didn’t I see this coming this year?

Could it be that the calendar was just a bit off?  Did a late Labor Day Holiday push summer just a little too far? 

Perhaps I am just less happy with transitions these days. Because the signals are there. Paying attention to them is another thing.


My summer to do list for the café is not done.  Many of my staff are heading back to school and once again it’s time to turn my energy to hiring and training and filling lots of gaps.  Somehow those transitions don’t ever find a way to ease through summer to fall seasonal change.  I feel a bit like a basil plant after a first frost.  Wait a minute! I’m not done yet!   It does help a little that we can often stretch pleasant weather through the first months of returning to a school schedule.  There are some opportunities to try to catch up.  But that luxurious summer daylight and days away and comfortable evening dinners on the patio now begin to feel like rare gifts.  


Yet, every day we open the doors to the café, put out the food and offer a welcome.  One day much like the other.  Day to day there isn’t a lot to mark the big changes in time.  But, then, a couple months go by and a teacher drops in after a summer break, and they notice (and we get to notice also) that some things have changed.  Kids return and have had their own growth spurts.  Neighbors who’ve moved away return for a visit and we both point out the more noticeable changes in each other.  When did that happen?


I participated in the reopening of the playground at Martin Luther King Jr. Park recently.  After a lot of long discussions, planning, designing and dreaming, something new took shape.  There was a lot to celebrate in the bright new equipment.  But more than that, there was a celebration of the process that created this playground.  That was a new kind of activity, a new way of talking together, a new way to finding common ground.  The routine was changed, not in that one moment, but over the course of many days and months, and years.  It is rare when we have events that can indeed mark those long slow changes, this celebration of a beloved community was one those moments.


It is my challenge as a business owner to find a way to make the day to day routines feel new.  I want to have ways to approach each day and each task with the joy of a new start.  When we can bring a spirit of being anew, we are able to be part of the changes around us. When we can stay in tune with the seasonality of life, we grow as well.  When we take that extra moment to celebrate even the change of color in a leaf, we may be better able to celebrate the change in each other.


I wish for your walk along this green path transitions that lead you into new life!