How is it September?

The butter in the butter dish was hard this morning, which can only mean one thing: it is September.
And every year at this time I throw up my hands and cry out, “How did this happen?” Then I remind myself of all the good things that come with September and it is a long list.
Apples, lots and lots of apples. Green ones, red ones, yellow ones, ones for pies, ones for tiny hands, ones because they are sweet and others because they are sour.
Nova Scotia is filled with apple orchards, though not as many as once was since someone decided growing grapes for wine was the better option, but still the apple orchards beckon.
I can’t help but admire the branches laden with colour and juicy specimens.
The changing colours of leaves, like a parade, a wave of colour erupting from the hardwood forests like living fireworks that linger and cling to the branches so we all might get a good look. Oranges and yellows and reds and I can never be sure which is my favourite, though no favourite is really required.
The trees are at their most lovely just before they shed their leaves and I think it a metaphor to remind us of our value as we age, coming into our greatest beauty perhaps despite our fruitless clinging to our youth.
September is cool nights and the black-flies have given up the fight and the mosquitoes have become lazy and not as vicious.
The days have shortened so a fire in the back yard pit can happen earlier and darkness gathers round like a heavy blanket, shutting out the distractions of the rest of the world.
Back-to-school supplies. I know I am not in school, but I can’t help but treat myself to freshly sharpened pencils and duo-tangs and crisp paper and plump erasers and firm rulers.
Back to school was a lunch box with Mighty Mouse adorned on the lid or Fred Flinstone, Yogi and Boo-Boo or Huckleberry Hound.
Graduating to a brown paper bag was a short-lived thrill and it wasn’t long before I was longing for Mighty Mouse back in my life.
September seems less hurried to me now, less urgency watching others cram in holiday activities.
I used to hate September when my daughters were little. The bikes lying idle on the lawn, the swing quiet, life revolving now around schedules rather than random play.
The necessity of four heads of long hair needing braiding every morning and the inventory of clean socks replenished hourly it seemed and the world pulling at my children and taking them from my lap.
I love September now. I have shaken free of the melancholy, the inevitability of children growing up.
One of my grandchildren spent the summer learning to ride his bike. He wasn’t keen on it, feeling a bit intimidated by the whole process of challenging gravity, but he is off to school to Grade One having conquered the two-wheeler and doing so with great fanfare, his cape flowing out behind him as though at any minute he might lift off and take flight and he reminds me I have things to conquer yet, too.
I will follow his lead and take on the big bike and let September remind me that like Linden, I am still learning.