Here it is September, my favourite month. Is it because it’s the month of my birth? I don’t know. Maybe, but it’s certainly not the only reason. Though it’s a busy month with school starting and people back to work after the long days of summer, I notice myself easing into a peaceful, reflective state of mind. How beautiful is John Keats’ opening line to his “Ode to Autumn“–Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
I think of the song Try to Remember…”the kind of September when life was slow and oh so mellow,” and “without a hurt the heart is hollow.” (Oh, how true.) Harry Belafonte’s singing is so tender that I’m teary. You too?
What’s September without a mention of school? I’ve always thrived on learning, whether in school or out. I’m grateful for wonderful teachers who inspired me. From Miss Dorothy Gilmour in grade two at Second Street Elementary, who recognized my “star quality” and made me Mother Rabbit in “the Adventures of Peter Rabbit” 🙂 , to Ms. Ruth Eldredge in grade 12 at Burnaby South Senior Secondary, who awakened in me a passion for literature.
Inspiring teachers helped me to realize my life’s calling, to become a teacher myself. For many years I taught secondary English. I still smile when I recall a 15 year old boy, looking over his shoulder to be sure no one else heard him, tell me that The Lady of Shalott was his “#1 favourite poem.” My favourite to teach was Shakespeare. Students’ acting out scenes in class was the “funnest” thing of all.
Now, years after an early retirement, I’m delighted to work one-on-one, tutoring the teenage kids of Chinese friends of mine.
Summer to Autumn
September is more than half “summer” (the fall equinox lands on the 23rd this year), but I always associate the month with autumn. Changes are dramatic and seem to be sudden, yet it’s like they move to an unhurried beat.
There’s something about this transition time that refocuses me. It’s like carefree days are over (did I have any of those this past summer?) and it’s time to get on with the more “serious,” as in basic, business of living. Rather than a light white wine, it’s time for a full-bodied red.
Shift in Weather
Summer-yellowed grass returns to green. Once green leaves now turn to yellow. Here on Vancouver Island, it’s a mixed bag. The rains have come back, washing away summer’s dust, and some days are as sunny and blue-skied as mid-July. Either way, there’s a chilled edge in the air. Time to add some layers, cook and eat some homemade soup and throw another blanket or two on one’s bed.
Shift in Light
Have you noticed the change in light? It’s like light is thinner now and slanted. The sun is lower, more distant and detached; shadows are longer. As night approaches, the “light thickens.” Such a fascinating image that is, from Shakespeare (Macbeth). It makes no rational sense, of course, but it’s imaginative, poetic sense resonates with me. I picture thick black clouds, swirling together (like thickening gravy) to bring on darkness.
Due to the changes in the light’s rays, colours change. On the West Coast (of Canada) we generally don’t have the same kind of cold as Eastern Canada, where scarlet is a predominant colour for the fall. Yes, we do have some flaming red (Japanese maples and Virginia Creeper, for example), but predominant for us are the golds and oranges and browns.
A shift in light is part of the internal clock of fruits, vegetables and grains. The quality of rays necessary for any continued growth is declining, which means it’s time to be mature and it’s time to be harvested.
Where I live, one crop is still moderately plentiful in September, blackberries. Some are tasty but gritty due to extra big seeds; some are dry and small like raisins, and others are so ripe they’ve fermented on the vine.
Arachnids, aka Spiders
Night time’s earlier arrival brings to mind another phenomenon of fall—an “exodus,” except it’s from the outside to the inside. Spiders like our houses.
I don’t like spiders, nor do I hate them. In an odd way, I’ve come to respect them. I marvel at their creativity and their purposefulness, as determined and deadly as it is! Do they possess much, if any, intelligence? I don’t know, but they seem to.
Their webs intrigue me—intricate, delicate, tenacious. Wind storm or downpour, the webs somehow manage to stay together in a recognizable state. Water droplets sometimes transform spiders’ webs into unusual prisms of light, so the webs can be beautiful too.
Will You Share?
I have shared some of my special September associations. I’d love to read what September means to you! There’s space in the comments section below. 🙂