The pond across the road from my house, dressed in its autumn best.
How did it get to be September already? Wasn’t it just June? Nobody asks that question in February. Nobody says, "Wasn’t it just January?" What is it about summer that speeds up time?
Perhaps it’s because in summer, things grow. They emerge, develop, and expand until the next thing you know, the tree leaves that were the size of squirrels’ ears in late spring have flattened and broadened enough so you can stand comfortably in their collective shade. Corn seeds planted in May produce elephant-eye-high plants by August. In just two July weeks, my zucchini grew from finger-length babies to whale-sized behemoths. Cut grass seems to spring up right behind the lawn mower, and flower stems pole vault their blossoms toward the sun.
In June, time begins to make itself visible, each day stretching out full-length, its fingers reaching toward an ever-earlier dawn while its toes extend toward an ever later dusk. We even say the day stretches out before us, as though we sense the languorous pose July assumes when the temperature and the humidity rise. Let things cool off a bit, let the day curl up on itself and retreat beneath a blanket of gray, and still dawn does not lag nor twilight hurry.
July is mid-summer, all buzz and bloom and business. Mornings are often misty, and as the sun comes up, I like to watch the wraith-like vapor rise from the trees and the riverbed like lazy ghosts who’ve slept on the floor and just realized they must be off and away. Noontimes are just plain hot. The shimmering heat builds over the afternoon into thunderheads that break with a loud crack, spilling rain into the evening hours.
Then, just as in snow-smothered January there comes a day that hints of spring, there comes a storm that breaks summer’s spell sometime in mid-August, when the heat has built to an unbearable sizzle and people and dogs alike pant. After that, the days begin to sit up a little straighter. They belt robes around their waists against the dawn chill and in the evening pull sweaters over their shoulders. So do I. Time becomes restless, hoarding the light to spill on other continents, leaving us, with each flip of the calendar page, in the dark a little longer.
Watching the seasons cycle, I realize that all that has been and all that will be is held in the moment at hand. Like a good book, nature gives us hints of what is to come in the beginning and middle of each seasonal chapter. And though I’ve heard it before, September is a story I want to read over and over.