Lacey Middlestead

Lacey Middlestead is a Montana native and freelance writer currently living in Helena, Mont. She loves meeting new people and helping share their stories. When she’s not busy writing articles for newspapers like the Independent Record and Helena Vigilante, she can usually be found indulging in her second greatest passion–playing in the Montana wilderness. She loves skiing and snowmobiling in the winter and four wheeling, hiking, boating, and riding dirt bikes in the summer.

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Even before crimson and orange hues saturate the trees around town, I can tell it is fall. There’s just always this moment in late September or October when I step outside and I suddenly feel it...that shift in the air that reminds that the seasons are changing---and life along with it.  

To me, fall is a time of transition. You trade in your sun-faded flip flops and tank tops for tall leather boots and knit scarves. The days grow shorter and mornings are often stenciled with frost. Kids head back to school and families start planning for the holiday season. You wondered how it took so long to get to summer, but before you knew it, it was over.

Fall is also a time to pause and reflect on the past year, which is rapidly transitioning into the next, and to daydream of all the things you hope will come to pass in the coming months. I was doing just that the other evening when I caught a glimpse of Spring Meadow Lake out my window. The water was placid, without even the faintest ripple across its surface. Trees dipped in brilliant shades of yellow wrapped themselves around the lake’s edge. With so many anxious and nostalgic feelings about fall bouncing around in my head, I longed for the sort of peace that Spring Meadow echoed that day.

So I decided to go for a walk.

There is a trail that winds around Spring Meadow that’s approximately one mile long. There were several people jogging and briskly maneuvering strollers along the trail when I got there. I, however, chose to meander along slowly trying to absorb the overwhelming silence of the lake, save for the gravel crunching under my feet. The sun dangled low in the sky and I knew that the peaceful fall day would soon be over.

I made two loops around the lake that day without even realizing it. As I walked along I thought about so many things.

I thought about the friend I had seen earlier that day that is in her final few weeks of pregnancy. Her face absolutely glowed when she ran her hand across her belly telling me how anxious she was getting. She will welcome her first child into the world by Halloween and thus begin the biggest transition of her life—becoming a mother.

I thought about how my boyfriend of eight years has lived in another town from me for the past three years and how I much I desperately hope to close that gap soon and transition into starting a family together---like everyone my age seems to be busy doing.

I thought about how much progress I have made as a writer in the four years since graduating college. Between two newspapers, two blogs, and one magazine, my plate is forever full of opportunities to write. I couldn’t help but wonder how much further I will have progressed as a writer by the time the snow of winter has come and gone and summer graces the Montana skies again. Transitioning and growing are all part of being a writer after all.

And I thought about Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, which always make me think about distant friends and family. Though there are some I seldom see or talk to anymore, I keep track of their transitions in life like engagements, weddings, babies, new jobs, and vacations through texts, photos and posts on Facebook.

I finished my walk feeling more at peace with the dynamic nature of this fall season. Like the metamorphic leaves around me, I hope the changes of fall will leave my life and those around me even more brilliant than before. 

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