There’s a turkey gobbling in the woods behind the house, and condensation on the windows. There’s a low-slow cricket trill coming from the stone wall, the blue jays and crows are serenading the first frosty morning, and the squirrels croon to themselves in the black walnut as they fuss over their nuts. And so the slow countdown to winter begins. It seems like only yesterday I was marveling at the new foliage, fresh and hopeful, like clean laundry. Now the leaves of the maple outside my window are curling and faded to an anemic yellow. Melancholy is a good word to describe the feeling of September. Seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness, as the English poet John Keats wrote. It leaves me with an ache in my heart for the glorious, carefree summer days, real or imagined.
Yet at the same time a steady candle flicker of excitement burns in me. It’s time to refocus my energies on new projects, and reenergize the old ones. My brain that gets muddled by the soporific heat of July, and lazy in the enervating humidity of August, has clicked into gear. The days and night aren’t long enough for all the things I want to do. Like the birds and the bees, I have replenished my store of energy over the summer and am ready to get my fingers stuck into a cool, damp lump of clay and see if the magic happens. I’m itching to sketch up a new design to knit, and experiment with the bounty of the season in the kitchen. I feel ripe to bursting with ideas. I’m chomping at the bit to crank out the outline of a middle grade novel I’ve been dreaming up, and research a new picture book. My new camera is begging to be to taken for a hike. There are friends to visit, and trips to the city to take my freshly minted college student out to lunch. I think I’ve caught the squirrel fever—Quick, get it done. Get it done. Now if only the dwindling morning light would make it a little easier to get up in the morning.Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run; To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease, For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells. -John Keats, excerpted from To Autumn, September 19th, 1819