Sweet summer is fading. Though it hasn’t disappeared completely, the days no longer begin and end with the same hot stickiness. The frogs have stopped croaking into the warm evenings and I haven’t heard the triumphant morning songs of birds outside our windows lately. There are still snippets of summer to be snatched, of course. I went to the beach today to celebrate a successful end to my first week of teaching, and as I fell asleep in the sand with visions of assessments to be recorded in my head, the midday sun still had enough power to scorch my skin in the uncovered places. It looks like I will be sporting a nice blotchy complexion for this last summer hoorah, this sweet, long weekend we take off for Labor Day.
Even the hot noon sun couldn’t burn off the tinge of crispness that was in the air today, though. September in Maine is a unique experience. It can be glorious and bright and cool, and it can be foggy and mystical and mild. It carries a hint of nostalgia - I never really can place my finger on it. It’s just that I feel slightly sad in September. But at the same time, my body embraces the change of pace, the welcoming of new routine, and the need to put on an extra layer of clothing. There is longing and hope and remembering in September.
My garden kind of looks the way September feels. It is slightly sad. I’ve allowed weeds to grow up alongside the plants and have forsaken spraying those sticky thick grubs that so love to eat the broccoli. Many of the plants have been harvested and are now turning brown, crisping up, getting ready to decompose along with the changing leaves on the trees. But yet - there are butternut and buttercup squash still blossoming, expanding their reign over the garden by reaching their vines ever further. The pumpkins are gradually turning the orangest of oranges, lying in wait for their moments of glory when they will be the prized decoration on our doorstep, the carved Jack-o-lantern glowing in our living room, and the first bite of pumpkin pie in our kitchen. Where there’s a twinge of nostalgia in the garden that was alive and thriving just weeks ago, there is also still the hope of something yet to come.