Toward the end of August I begin to dream about fall, how this place will empty of people, the air will get cold and leaves begin to turn. Everything will quiet down, everything will become a skeleton of its summer self. Toward
the end of August I get nostalgic for what’s to come, for that quiet time, time alone, peace and stillness, calm, all those things the summer doesn’t have. The woodshed is already full, the kindling’s in, the last of the garden soon
will be harvested, and then there will be nothing left to do but watch fall play itself out, the earth freeze, winter come. ~David Budbill “Toward the End of August”
As the calendar page flips to September this morning, I feel nostalgic for what is coming.
Summer is filled with so much overwhelming activity due to ~18 hours of daylight accompanying weeks of unending sunny weather resulting in never-enough-sleep. Waking on a summer morning feels so brim full with possibilities: there are places to go, people to see, new things to explore and of course, a garden and orchard always bearing and fruiting out of control.
As early September days usher us toward autumn, we long for the more predictable routine of school days, so ripe with new learning opportunities. This week my teacher friend Bonnie orchestrated an innovative introduction to fifth grade by asking her students, with some parental assistance, to make (from scratch) their own personalized school desks that will go home with them at the end of the year. These students have created their own learning center with their brains and hands, with wood-burned and painted designs, pictures and quotes for daily encouragement.
For those students, their desks will always represent a solid reminder of what has been and what is to come.
So too, I welcome September’s quieting times ushering in a new cool freshness in the air as breezes pluck and toss a few drying leaves from the trees. I will watch the days play themselves out rather than feeling I must direct each moment. I can be a sponge.
How hard it is to take September straight—not as a harbinger of something harder.
Merely like suds in the air, cool scent scrubbed clean of meaning—or innocent of the cold thing coldly meant.
How hard the heart tugs at the end of summer, and longs to haul it in when it flies out of hand
at the prompting of the first mild breeze. It leaves us by degrees only, but for one who sees
summer as an absolute, Pure State of Light and Heat, the height to which one cannot raise a doubt,
as soon as one leaf’s off the tree no day following can fall free of the drift of melancholy. ~Mary Jo Salter “Absolute September”
I admit I’ve been clinging to summer, though the calendar says it is fall, the darker mornings say it is fall, and the coolness of the air necessitates turning on the furnace first thing to take the chill off. These last days of September bring on a drift of melancholy for time wasted during summer’s pure stateof light and heat and here we are again, reminded of our mortality and the shortness of our days.
And so the harder times are coming, there can be no doubt. Wistful about whether I can weather it, I am tugged, heart first, into October, ready or not.
I want to remember us this way— late September sun streaming through the window, bread loaves and golden bunches of grapes on the table, spoonfuls of hot soup rising to our lips, filling us with what endures. ~Peter Pereira from “A Pot of Red Lentils”
I cherish the moments that are most basic, plain, and simple and have the best chance of happening again. I’m not talking about exotic travels, nor the extravagant meal out, nor the once in a lifetime experience. My most cherished moments are everyday, and I store them up to fill the decades full.
Most cherished of all is “that look” that says “I want to look into your eyes forever and get lost there.”
I am lucky enough to know what that feels like. I get that butterfly in the stomach feeling anytime it happens. My husband held my eyes with his from across a room early in our relationship, and over thirty five years later, he still holds them when he looks at me, even over bowls of soup at the kitchen table.
And I look at him just that way as well. The eyes say what words cannot. The eyes don’t lie. The eyes never change even though the years bring gray hair and crow’s feet.
It is what endures. I want to look at you forever, just like this, just as you are, wherever you are because of who you are.