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Celebrating September

Monday, September 17, 2012

I love September, the season of Indian summer. The days have become shorter. Now it is dark soon after 8:00. The shorter days bring with them a welcome coolness after the heat of the summer. These earlier evenings are perfect for neighborhood night games for a few more weekends when it’s not a school night. Leaves are kissed by the cool nights and begin to turn brilliant shades: Reds, golds, oranges. We look to the mountains for their stunning displays. The birds begin to gather into flocks. They feed together in fields and fly in formation.

Gardeners begin to be vigilant. Tomatoes that have taken the summer to grow fat and heavy are still busy ripening. Those occasional frosts could end everything in a snap. Weather reports and thermometers are watched for danger signs. Blankets, newspapers, plastic must be strategically laid on cold nights to protect the harvest. Then everything must be removed in the morning to bless the garden with the warmth of the day. The pumpkins grow fat. That frosty kiss of cool evenings sweetens the apples.

Many gardeners are diligently canning and preserving their labors. Zucchini and summer squash still abound and are being passed off and traded to anyone who is still willing to take them, or they are shredded and frozen for a few more batches of zucchini bread later in the fall when it will be more appreciated.

Students have been in school for two or three weeks now, and the crisper days make it easier to settle into the classes that have cut the summer short. Bright colors of new school clothes flash in the hallways as students hustle between classes, eager to greet a friend or gather books for the next class. Excitement over upcoming football games, dances, and other activities spreads. Students revel in the still warm days which furnish wonderful after school hours for sports practice or gossip sessions with attendants all seated around in the grass.

September is the month when we honor the workers. On Labor Day we remember how far we have come from the time of sweatshops and factory row houses. Now days, unions are often reviled, but they played an important part in giving workers a voice against rich and powerful employers who exploited them and often had them working in dangerous conditions. But regardless of your take on unions, everyone enjoys having a day off from work to catch up on a project or enjoy a last summer outing.

We also take a somber moment to remember many lives lost to terrorism and the heroism of those who risked all to save others. The flags flying on September 11 inspire our courage and loyalty to our country. Thanks to our soldiers, police offices, EMTs, firefighters, and other unsung heroes.

It is a time for fairs with their carnival rides and arcades, exhibits, and shows. Those garden harvests will show up at the fair along with livestock, all vying for blue ribbons or sweepstakes. There will be slews of 4-Hers showing off their summer projects. Beautiful quilts, artwork, and photographs from local artisans. We’ll enjoy rodeos, picnics, cotton candy, corn dogs, and kettle corn. Classic cars, horses, and local royalty will parade.

September! What a wonderful transition from summer to fall.
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