Now it is September and soon the sky will be “exchanging its gold for brass and copper.” This last week of summer has been warm and sunny, with enough passing showers to make the air soft and sweet. It makes it even harder to say goodbye to what we all declare was the most beautiful summer we can remember in awhile, free of smoke, and just enough rain. Nostalgia is heavy on the heart. There are so many ‘last times’. Joy texted they were off to their cabin this Labor Day holiday–the last time before Fletcher goes off to college. I’ve been washing and storing the huge pile of beach towels we used this summer, and putting away the extra beach chairs the two of us no longer need. The kitties have mysteriously decided to leave home week ago. Chatpeau appeared all of sudden on Saturday, and enjoyed hours of cuddling, fresh food and water, and much loving as we sat on the dock at sunset. Then, she was gone again, reappeared again, but Gary seems to have vanished. We are weary of worrying about them.
The squirrels are getting busy. A small one ran across the grass the other day, carrying a pine cone that was twice her size. The red apples and yellow pears are bending their branches down to the ground. And, the golden wheat fields are being harvested all the way into town, with farm equipment clogging the 70 mph highway. The deciduous trees are still green and lush, but you can sense that they are ceasing to produce chlorophyll, preparing to store their energy for the long winter. According to The Farmer’s Almanac, in somewhat haunting language, “As winter descends, trees in temperate and boreal zones face punishingly cold temperatures and frigid winds, conditions that would damage leaves, so trees have to reduce themselves to their toughest parts—stems, trunks, branches, bark. Leaves must fall.”
Like the trees, I need this transition to move from one season to another. September feels every bit the ending that it is, and I feel another year older. Come October, when the sun is low in the sky, clear light will shine through the golden aspen leaves and illuminate the living room. I’ll build a fire and wood smoke will scent the air, and my wool sweaters will come out of storage. It will feel like a fresh beginning, a new start to another year. But, not now, not yet, this early in September.
by Dorothy Lawrenson
This far north, the harvest happens late.
Rooks go clattering over the sycamores
whose shadows yawn after them, down to the river. Uncut wheat staggers under its own weight.
Summer is leaving too, exchanging its gold for brass and copper. It is not so strange to feel nostalgia for the present; already this September evening is as old
as a photograph of itself. The light, the shadows on the field, are sepia, as if this were
some other evening in September, some other harvest that went ungathered years ago.