September is quite a month isn’t it? There are lots of poems about it, all from the perspective of the northern hemisphere of course. It’s a month that seems to dig deep into the range of our emotions.
The end of summer. Inevitably, we all say “where did the summer go?” a little wistfully, perhaps regretting not doing all the things we’d imagined as the summer approached only a few months ago. As the seasons turn, so do our lives (did that sound like a soap opera?) and for those of us who are inclined that way, the sight of the first yellow leaf can send us spinning into the wonder and anxieties of aging.
Along with that, though, there are the autumn colours, the fireweed on the hills, and the intensity of the yellow leaves against the impossibly blue skies. Produce from farms and gardens, the nip of frost in the air, watching the mountains for signs of snow and, recently, the appearance of pumpkin spice everything.
For me, though, September has always taken me back to the excitement of starting a new school year. I feel energized and hopeful. In elementary school, that took the form of new shoes, brand new scribblers (yellow for arithmetic, blue for social studies, green for science, every year the same colours) and, if my mom would allow it, brand new pencil crayons. It was a heady mixture! A new teacher and maybe, just maybe, Janet Kelly would let me be her friend this year! During high school, the excitement was tempered by hormones and attitude, but it was still there.
And now, I’m 67; the autumn of my own life. I haven’t gone back to school in quite some time. I don’t buy new shoes and I don’t get new pencil crayons, but I do change the accent colours in my office and my home. I dig out the autumn-coloured sweaters and I still get the “September squiggles” in my stomach. What will the season bring? What new thing will I learn? Who will I meet and what might unfold this season? Someone has wisely said that every year the leaves teach us how beautiful it is to let go. I am trying to let go of the things that need letting go and to embrace the gifts of this season of my life.