It is September. That month that is not really summer and not really fall. Unless you live in the southwest, and it is hot-as-hades-stop-talking-about-sweaters season.
But here in the Northeast, school has started, pumpkins and mums are available at farm stands, pumpkin-flavored-everything is everywhere, pools are begrudgingly being closed, county fairs are active, evenings are chilly, afternoons are warm, Halloween décor has been in the stores for weeks, and trees are just starting to consider changing.
And we have begun to ponder the important challenging topics of the season:
What do I wear so I don’t freeze going to work in the morning, and don’t sweat on the way home?
Can I wear sandals?
Is it too soon for boots?
Is it too early to be eating comfort foods, or should I still be grilling burgers and making salad?
Should I take down the hummingbird feeder?
Why are the stores only carrying clothing in the colors of tangerine, gold, burgundy, mustard, olive green, or leopard print, all colors that only look good on about 4% of the population?
ACK, do I need to start my holiday shopping already?
How soon can I start drinking hot cocoa? Or should I make more lemonade?
Oh, sure, sure, we are thinking about important world news and life events too, but really… this is the month for these daily real life quandaries…. Kind of like March, but in reverse. After all these years, I for one still don’t really have any of these things figured out.
My gardens are looking spotty. Some flowers and plants are long gone, others are clinging on with bits of color. I will soon buy a few mums to plant because they will be hardy enough to last a few more weeks, and just might come back next year. While I’m buying the mums, I’ll be tempted to purchase a pumpkin for our front steps. But that’s too soon, because the Weather Dude on TV said we’ll be back in the 80’s later this month, then I’ll just have orange rotted goo to clean up. While I’m at it, should I be putting away my pink flamingo pillows that are on the porch chairs and get out the blanket throws in the living room? This is one of the many reasons I don’t live in warmer climates. If I’m this confused now, could you imagine me if I had cactus or palm trees in the winter?
Every Fall I am shocked and dismayed by the shrinking hours of daylight, as if I’ve never experienced it every previous year. No longer do I have the luxury of knowing I can do gardening, or walk the dog, or go for a bike ride after dinner. Nope, gotta get it all done before 7pm. Same goes for the morning. Getting up with the puppy for that early morning pee now feels like I’m roaming the backyard in the middle of the night. And by the way, good thing no one can see me, because now I wear my fluffy bathrobe and garden clogs at that hour because it is too cold for shorts and bare feet. As I stand there, flashlight in-hand, while she does her business and happily sniffs around the yard, I cringe at the thought that in the not too distant future I’ll have to make the move into a winter coat and boots for our little outings.
Speaking of temperature, the inside of buildings this time of year battle for variable comfort, as if they too are going through menopause. One place may still be blasting the a/c, another may have it shut off and opted for windows open for anything from chilly air to warm breezes, and another may actually have the heat turned on. Layers of clothing are the only option this month. We become better at adding or removing clothing than superman in his phone booth. In September, the casual-wear uniform is either shorts and a sweatshirt, or jeans with Tshirt and jacket. Anything else, and we’ll end up freezing or roasting.
All this confusion aside, September is one of my favorite months. The days are clinging to the last rays of summer, yet there’s the promise of crisp colorful beauty on the horizon. Crowds in popular scenic areas are less, and going for walks and hikes is superb. The air smells fresh, and for a few weeks I can ignore the fact that winter is coming.
So in the days to come, I’ll embrace the wackiness of NSNF (Not Summer Not Fall) Month. I will open all my windows in the house, roam around in shorts and sweatshirt. I will go for a hike. I will drink hot chai tea in the morning and iced tea in the afternoon. I will put out my Fall floral arrangements but not my pumpkins. I will plant mums and cut back my daisies. We will grill something simple for dinner, but then I’ll bake pumpkin bread. I will sweat on a bike ride, but be burrowed under a blanket in the evening while I flip channels searching for any of my favorite returning TV shows. We will giggle about a 45 degree temperature change in 12 hours. I may pack away my white shorts and a few tank tops, but the capri’s and T’s stay for now. I will try not to complain about not knowing what to wear. I may do a bit of shopping… I won’t buy anything in olive green/mustard/leopard print, but a Fall purse may tickle my fancy.
Most of all, I will attempt to let this month linger. I’ll put my face up to the warm sun, and I’ll pick up the first perfect yellow-orange maple leave I find on the ground. Let’s all make a pact to transition together in a bit of slo-mo. The hurry-scurry world of the holidays will sneak up all to soon. Let’s stop to breathe a bit first.