Dear September

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We always wait for you impatiently, as we do each season. Like the first flairs of green each March, we anticipate the first scent of that something we can’t quite name. You are special to us. Your early days bring us the last moments of grilled veggies and homemade ice cream. Scuppernong picking and jelly making. Your winding days bring us the first dry breezes that chill beautifully to our bones. You coax us into waning sunlight by allowing us a few more warm afternoons for our tender goodbyes to Southern summers. And the transition of feeling warmth by sun to feeling warmth by fleece becomes easy, natural, as we find ourselves moving our bodies in rhythm to earth’s seasonal dances.

If I think about you too long, what you bring, why you come, it’s all too easy to become saddened by the truth of why you’re here. Let’s just call it what it is: death.

You come to bring an end.

Last year, you preceded one of the harshest seasons I think I’ve ever known.

And yet, we are all still so excited to see you when you come. Why is that?

What is it about the giant, round, orange squash and the brittle, fragile leaves surrendering that thrills us? Autumn is in many ways synonymous with change, and much of the time, we are not so apt to accept change, especially when it involves leaving a splendid season of sun to journey into the dark, the cold, the lifeless (figuratively speaking). But for some reason, the literal leaving of seasons of sun fills us with excitement.

I know this to be true because I feel it. I just don’t understand why.

But in my own experiences, September, as I said before, you come gently. We know that your teasing, playful winds will soon give way to biting us raw, but we also know that you come with warmth of your own.

The color – when we lose the fire of our star, you bring the fire of color – the burnt golds a blend of orange, red, and brown. The blazes of bright apples and ciders.

And in this season, we preserve more than our harvest. We seal in our jars the scents of hay and burning wood, the greetings of mums and spider lilies, and the naps after full bellies of roasted stews and root vegetables.

We love you because we know you bring rest. Our youth expands seemingly endlessly before us to fill the years with labor. While our hands are still agile, we work them and blister them. Our shoulders carry the long days of sunlight, one on top of the other, and our feet faithfully support us even though they are always forgotten until day’s end when they have finally to say – we will have no more of this, good night.

Perhaps, September, you know our tendency to stay busy at all hours, neglecting Sabbath, and pushing our will to its edge. Perhaps, you bring the moon earlier to send us inside sooner to make up for the rest we lost summertide. Our bodies need you, for we will not take rest until it is forced upon us, and you gently push it consistently each year.

Perhaps thoughts into the end you bring would not have to be so sad. Death is, after all, just another form of rest. A temporary separation from those of us who still labor and those who have arrived at their endless harvest banquet.

I do love you, September. If only we could view all ends and changes through you. We would take comfort in life as a cycle, comfort in each season knowing there really is no end, only a rest.

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