Monday, September 15, 2008

Come September

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.

12 comments:

Vincent said...

Hi Pauline, I found you from Paul's original faith blog. Liked what you said there and what you say here too.

Though you are in New England and I am in old England, we have the same experience of the seasons, and I know what you mean about summer hastening through and then gone.

The difference in our perceptions of the seasons (February versus September) is surely that in February we are looking forward to spring but in September we are reluctant to leave summer behind.

What a magnificent observation: "all that has been and all that will be is held in the moment at hand".

focusfinder said...

. . . ever earlier . . . even later

Pure writing craft. It's choices like these which polish your writing to such a fine lustre.

meggie said...

Your seasons are so different from ours, here in the Southern hemisphere. We don't have such sharp delineations. Our Seasons tend to merge, & overlap. Our Summer seems to last so long, & greedily gobbles so many of our months.

Barbara said...

Aren't you glad you don't live in San Diego where the weather is exactly the same 365 days a year? I need the seasons to demarcate time for me!

Pauline said...

thanks vincent - I appreciate your stopping by to comment. I've been in England and found your seasons to be comparable to ours though your winter seems to come later and your spring earlier. I could have stayed forever...

Thanks, B. Speaking of England!

Meggie - the dividing lines here are blurry too when the seasons are about to change...

Barbara - the seasons keep me here. I love my New England home.

Mother of Invention said...

I love September! To use teacher jargon, "It is the culminating activity of June, July and August"! You can get a whole variety of weather; a hint of warm summer days, cool fall nights, harvest moons, misty mornings, tinges of colour on the trees. It's like it's suspended at that point and can neither go forward full throttle into winter , nor rewind into summer.
A very special time of year with a very warm fuzzy feeling of Thanksgiving to come!

Pauline said...

MOI - the moon last night was amazing but I could not capture it's magic on my little camera. And yes, it is a season to love, isn't it?

fennymun said...

I love the change of colours in autumn time and your photo is just amazing. Yet, here in HK, we don't have the luck to appreciate such colourful wonder of nature. Despite change of seasons, the colour of nature just not in such sharp delineation.

Ruth D~ said...

You have such a sense of detail and every day simplicity. Put together you show the complexity of what only seems simple. Love this.

Pauline said...

hi fenny - that vibrant color in autumn is one of my favorite things about the season. I'll try to post more pictures for you as the leaves become more colorful.

thank you ruth - I try to pay attention... :)

Sheila said...

September draws to a close but as you say it is "a story I want to read over and over." I tend to get more reflective this time of year too as I prepare to hunker down for winter chill.

I enjoyed my visit and found you from Herbal Connections.

Pauline said...

Hi Sheila - thanks for stopping by an commenting :)