Categories Family, Life, Self

It’s hard to believe that the end of the school year is upon us.

I’ve written before that I see September and back-to-school time as my “new year.” It is the time we make the transition from the long, lazy days of summer to the comfort and familiarity that comes with the routine of school days. Maybe that stems from spending 15 years as a classroom teacher. Maybe it’s because I have a child in school and our lives revolve around the school calendar. Maybe it’s just something I’ve always felt. I love the air of newness that September brings.

But me, June is also a time of transition. It is the beginning of longer days and later nights, the end of homework and bedtime routines. It is a time to slow down, to linger, and to sip slowly of summer’s sweetness. It is fireflies and fireworks.  I am always glad for the promise of summer, the long stretch of unplanned days and nights ahead. It is a wonderful time to reconnect, renew, and refresh our spirits.

June is the month of my birth and the month I became a mother. I am a year older; so is my daughter. Often, June makes me wish time would slow down so much that it stands still – that I wouldn’t get one minute closer to 50, that my daughter would stay exactly the age she is this second. But there is so much life ahead to live and so we march on, grateful perhaps that we can do it at a slower pace, even for a little while.

As the school year closes, I am thankful that our daughter has experienced great growth and success. In fact, we all have. I am thankful for the progress and many achievements our family has enjoyed over the last year. We have come so far along the path toward our goals.

At this time of year I have to think about how to combine my work-from-home life with my daughter-at-home life for the next few months. I can honestly say I have some concerns about making it work for both of us, but I’m certain we will find the right balance. It will be an adjustment to make the transition from the freedom of my solitude to having constant company.  But I am always grateful for this circumstance of working from home. It means I am blessed to be with my child all summer, to spend these days with her in the sun and watch her grow – something she is doing entirely too fast.


Speaking of transitions, I’ve seen a lot of vultures in the last week. We do see them around regularly up here on “Witch Mountain” as I call our little hilltop. But lately, I’ve seen them multiple times per day in very close proximity and it’s not even migration season. I’m a sign reader – always have been – so, naturally I wanted to understand what this was all about.

Vultures get a bad rap, I think because they are so often associated with death and negativity. But in many cultures, the vulture has more noble significance. The vulture is a sign of protection, believe it or not. Vultures are fearless in the face of death and are consumers of death (rather literally). Vultures are harbingers of renewal, cleansing, and transformation –  a force that can convert death into life. That happens in nature and it’s an interesting symbolic interpretation, too. Vultures do not hunt – they are scavengers. So I guess you cuold say they work smart, not hard, and seize the resources available to them. Vultures can be a sign that difficulty in life is temporary.

So, I suppose I am thankful for whatever message the vultures are bringing me right now. I’ve always loved them – beautiful creatures, really – and this recent string of sightings makes them even more interesting to me. I know that this period of life is a great transition for me and so I like to think the vultures are visiting to remind me that great things are on the horizon.


This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence prompt is “Hey, June…” Finish the Sentence Friday is hosted, as always, by the lovely Kristi of Finding Ninee. FINISH THE SENTENCE FRIDAY is a link-up that enables writers and bloggers to share their ideas based on a particular sentence. To stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our FACEBOOK GROUP! 

I’m also joining the gang at the Ten Things of Thankful hop this week. Join the Ten Things of Thankful hop to celebrate the blessings in your life. The link-up is open each weekend from Thursday though Tuesday evening. Click on the link in the image below to find this week’s posts and link your own!

Ten Things of Thankful

Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

23 thoughts on “Transitions

  1. I appreciate your thoughts on vultures. I see them (or have) as scary, but I guess I’ve just been freaked out by movement on the side of the road, wondering “WHAT IS THAT” and then it’s like 20 of them, feeding on a deer. But you’re right – they make life from death. And that’s something pretty amazing.
    Also, so with you on this summer, and wanting magical moments with the kiddo while wondering how to get anything done. And September. And June. It’s JUNE. How did this happen so quickly? Love this, Lisa. Much.

    1. Vultures also pee on their feet. Apparently, this cleans away the bacteria they pick up when scavenging. Fascinating. I love vultures and ravens – both seemingly evil or bad, but actually great signs of good. Misunderstood, perhaps. But definitely amazing.
      I am so full of mixed emotions about summer – how to get it all done, how to not miss one single moment – but it all feels like there is great promise around right now.
      I have NO idea how it got to be June or how my child is about to be 9 – NINE! Time moves too swiftly for me.

  2. As a retired teacher, I still have that beginning of summer, end of summer, school year is going to begin sort of internal rhythm. I suppose it stays with us forever. The info on the vulture is interesting. Next time I see them munching on the carcass of a dead squirrel or skunk in the middle of the road, I’ll recall their purpose has a harbinger for renewal. Like the way you mixed the two hops – stunning.

    1. I suspect you’re right, Val, that it stays with us forever.
      Isn’t the stuff about the vulture cool? There was so much more I could get into, but I didn’t want to turn it into a lesson on the significance and symbolism of the vulture across several cultures. But seriously fascinating.
      Time was of the essence and I’m glad the two hops were mashable! Have a great week!

  3. Happy end of the school year to you and your daughter! Interesting thought on June being a month of transition as I sit here on the Monday I plan to put my foot down on the summer rules around here (well, make some up and enforce them…we need some limits and yes, I’m including myself in that). Loved reading about the vultures as well. I’ve always enjoyed watching them circling around in the sky. Great photo of one!

    1. The vulture photo is not my own. Beautiful though, yes. I do have many vulture shots in my picture library, but that is far from organized in any way that makes sense. I couldn’t put my hands on one quickly enough, so I hopped on Pixabay. 😀
      My goal for the summer is to have a good plan and a good routine for being productive and relaxing – a good balance. Last summer we did a lot of lazy, but not in a good way. So these last couple end days of school are my time to figure out our plan.
      Happy summer!

  4. The Social Worker in me must congratulate you on that amazing reframe of vultures as gateways to new life. Nicely done!
    Love the fireworks photo. I even have a fireworks setting and can’t get a decent photo of them!
    I am finishing up a book currently, but have my copy of In Cold Blood and will be starting it within the next 36 hrs. Ready to go! I will contact you on Goodreads once I am underway.

    1. Well thank you, May. Vultures are rather social and cooperative creatures. Not the nasty loners they’re made out to be.
      The fireworks photo is not mine – Pixabay. I can’t get good fireworks on film, either. Loved that one, though – so celebratory!
      Ooh, yes, we are reading In Cold Blood together! I am desperately trying to finish All the Light We Cannot See (not loving it). I just requested the book from my public library, so I should have that just in time to start when you do!

  5. My daughter loves vultures. Of course, we have 11 chickens so they’re a predator to us, but I respect them too. I love your explanation of them. It makes them more endearing.
    I became a mom in early July – almost June – and then had my second in June. This time of year gives me stomachaches just because my kids are changing and that means I am, and I’m changing with them and against them and ahead of them and behind them.

    1. My daughter also loves vultures! We have a stuffed vulture named Vomit that she got at the raptor sanctuary near us. He’s very funny.
      Yes, all of that is wrapped up in the mix of emotions at this time of year. It’s a lot to process!

  6. We’re at that time of the year! I always loved summer here (in India, it would be another boiling kettle of fish!).
    How nice that both you and daughter have the same birth month! Happy birthday in advance to the two of you!!

  7. Maybe if you thought about yourself (and your daughter)’s schedule for the summer along the lines of how you organize homeschooling… there is no denying that the environment is an active factor, only be recognizing that it would seem can a compromise be found.
    Or something like that.
    I too am a fan of this time of year. Most years, June ushers in the time of year when I am not cold. This year that’s a little delayed. (I’m typing in my office and I have my floor heater on… people laugh. But as the Dali Lama would say, “Screw ’em”
    lol (Aiyieee I just looked at the temperature on the credit union sign…. 58 degrees that’s not right!)
    Once it warms to seasonal temperatures I will totally enjoy the summer. When asked, if it is hot enough for me, I will always answer, “No. No it is not.”

    1. See, I think I need to live where you are, Clark, because I would much rather spend my time in 58 degrees than 88. Any day. 😀

  8. Happy Birthday! I still feel like June is a transition time, even though my “child” is 30 years old. I love the transition from spring to the slower days of summer. I once shared a picture of three vultures in a tree on my blog–it was a creativity prompt.

  9. Say what you want, I still find vultures creepy! We call them buzzards around here.

    So happy to hear Zilla had a great year! She’s made such strides!

    I still think of life in the “school year” more often than “calendar year.” Maybe when my kids are out of school, that will change, unless I’m still teaching and then it obviously won’t!

    1. Buzzards takes me back to some old cartoons I watched as a kid – wish I could recall the name. But I remember there was a mamma and a baby buzzard. What a strange thing to remember all of a sudden!
      Zilla did have a great year. We could not be more pleased with her hard work and resilience. She’s come such a long way and she is so happy and confident. It’s amazing.
      I still buy my calendars by school year – in fact, I need a new one for July 1! Old habits die hard, I guess.

  10. Great post! I learned so much about vultures! I do appreciate it when they remove the road kill skunks, opossums and ground squirrels. The farmers have been mowing the fields, so the vultures won’t be going hungry by any means. Your daughter naming her stuffed vulture Vomit is so cute.
    Since my husband is a retired teacher, I can relate to “summer” on many different levels. Often he was working another job in the summer to supplement the teacher’s salary when our children were growing up, or he was taking classes at college to get his MS, and then taking more classes. I’m sure you can relate.
    I was a stay-at-home Mom for quite a few years, well until the first went off to college. I kind of always felt the term stay-at-home Mom was a misnomer. 🙂
    Well, I think, I go see if I can spot a vulture!

    1. Thanks, Pat. Yeah, Vomit the Vulture is pretty funny. 😀 Would you believe I saw more vultures since my post?? Today I had a VERY close encounter with one. Kind of amazing. And weird.
      Summer…I have such mixed feelings about it right now. I think that is an entirely different post, though.
      Good luck vulture spotting!

  11. When you were a teacher, I’m sure you experienced the end of school each June with the same excitement that the students did, and now Zilla surely does! It is a sweet time of freedom, relaxed routines, staying up late and watching the stars at night. They stay little for such a short while, and right now Zilla is still at the age where everything is fascinating and fun!

    I know that it will be a challenge to maintain some designated work time with Zilla home, but I also know you well enough that you will find a way, and she will be better for learning that there are times when mom needs not to be disturbed unless it’s a true emergency.

    I am glad this has been a good year for you, and a great year for Zilla too, it is so nice to be able to take a deep breath and say “we’re doing ok”! I am fascinated by your vulture sightings and have never really viewed them with much favor until reading your post. Isn’t it just always so easy to declare something “ugly” without really knowing much about it/them? Thank you for sharing a better perspective. I too am one who has always taken notice of signs and symbols, believing that they are intended.

    Have a truly wonderful summer and always, always maintain that belief in good things yet to come! XOXO

    1. I can tell you for certain that teachers look forward to the end of the year just as much (and perhaps more) than the students. We used to say at the end of the year teachers are the kind of tired only summer can cure. So true. We are definitely looking forward to summer and yet, Zilla is also a bit sad for the year to end. She absolutely loves school, so it’s a bit bittersweet. True of so many things in life. Yes, I also have my fears about how it will go, but I keep telling myself we will make it all work and make the most of our time. I’m in a bad place about it all in my head tonight, but that’s a conversation for later.
      Overall, it has been a really good year but/and it’s time to move forward to the next thing.
      I’m glad this gave you new thoughts about vultures. I like when that happens – finding new information, a new perspective, etc. Maybe you saw in my reply to Pat B. here that I have seen more vultures since writing this and today I had a very cool close-up sighting. They definitely want me to notice them!
      I’m sure we’ll talk soon – I think we’ve both been a bit off the Internet lately, but we’ll catch up. xoxo too!

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