By Lois Hoffman
I think, of all the months, September is my favorite because it gives us the best of both worlds. Days are usually sun-kissed and warm while nights have that crispness in the air. We can still enjoy tomatoes and corn on the cob right alongside early squash and fall apples.
The garden has been good this year, for all the weeding and watering throughout spring and summer we have reaped a good harvest. I love to see the various shades of green and the perfectly manicured rows in summer, but an empty garden in fall means full freezers and pantries. It also means a little more free time. I love to can and I love to freeze, but invariably, no matter when we plant and how long the maturity date is on the various vegetables, they always ripen at once. Yes, by the time I have spent a few weeks preserving pickled beets, tomatoes, corn and cucumbers, I am dutifully ready for a break.
Farmers’ fields also begin to take on that golden glow as soybeans and corn begin to dry down. It is especially colorful in our area with all the specialty crops. The red dots of tomatoes brighten many fields while acres of red and green cabbage add ribbons of purple and green to fields. Many farmers in the area contract their fields to companies who raise seed corn. The companies decide when it is time to harvest and pull in their machinery to do the job. It is quite a sight to see semis lined up and down the road waiting to take the corn to the plant.
Green beans are also prevalent in the area. In a good year, farmers get multiple bean crops. They will bring several harvesters in a field at once. The harvesters sound like they are chomping the beans as they go down the ro
ws. They are picked around the clock and during the night the dew on the beans intensifies the smell, so green bean aroma drifts through all open windows.
I love all the smells of September. It’s like all the garden vegetables, farm crops and various flowers lend their ripened smells into one sweet aroma. If I had to put a name to this aroma, it would be “September’s Song.”
September is truly the mellow month, and I also notice the change in people all around, myself included. As we transition from summer to fall, people slow down and take time for each other. We can’t help it, summer does this to us. Summer months go so fast that we try to cram everything into a few short weeks. June brings weddings and graduations, July is picnics and reunions, and August is vacations. In between all this, there is the lawn to keep up, flowers and gardens to tend to and water, and let’s not forget all those home improvement projects that we planned in the winter. A new roof, paint the trim on the house, new landscaping ideas and the list goes on.
Sometimes, because we are crea
tures who think we can do it all, we run from this event to the next one, try to get errands done in between and, in the end, we really haven’t enjoyed anything we have done. Fall brings a slower pace. It’s OK to sit on the deck and catch up on some reading. It’s OK to sit by a bonfire at night and truly spend time with family and friends. It’s just OK to slow down and enjoy the season.
Baseball turns to football, and that brings a whole different fan atmosphere. Baseball is intense, yell at the umpire, scrutinize every play and hotdogs and beer. Now football, though not my favorite game by any means, does offer
its fan rewards. People tailgate, aren’t quite so hard on the refs and are a little more creative with the food. Come on, ball park hotdogs are great, but how many can a person really eat? With football, sometimes people are still partying after the game ends, whereas in baseball after the 54th
out everyone scrambles for home.
But we can’t dally too long. There is a real short window between summer’s bounty and the intense fall harvest. Perhaps that is the beauty of it. If something lasts too long and we are rewarded with too much of a good thing, then the time becomes less special. Even so, it still doesn’t seem fair that September is one of the shorter months.
For this reason, I could never be a snowbird for the entire winter. I would miss too much. I love all the seasons because I love the changes they bring. I am never ready for a season to go, but am always anxious for the next to begin.
In our family we seem to have a lot of weddings in September. These couples know a secret that June brides miss; their weddings aren’t sandwiched between a host of other events, but rather given the special attention they deserve.
Yes, September is the mellow month as it lazily transitions us all from hectic summer to busy fall and beyond. I, for one, intend to savor every moment.
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