For many people, January 1st represents a new beginning. A new year filled with dreams and promises. Resolutions. Hope.
But for me, September is the month that reflects new beginnings with memories that go all the way back to childhood. Fresh paper, pens, pencils, loose-leaf binders – those days long before computers and smart phones. A new teacher. Maybe even a new school. New friends. A brand new start.
What makes this time so meaningful to me is that September comes with the changing of a season. Summer drifts into fall and the world around us changes. But each ending heralds a new beginning. I call this time the season of grace.
The Season of Grace.
I’m called by the stillness of a tender summer night. It’s one of the last, I know, before the inevitable drift and slide into the more capricious days of autumn. I open the door and step outside, bare feet against the still-warm deck. The dark pulses with scent and sensation, a soft green jungle: rust-coloured chrysanthemums, trailing orange nasturtiums, the sticky brush of a spider web against my cheek.
I feel my way to the old green wicker chair and sit down. The moon has not risen yet and the sky is black. Down in the dry creek bed, in the tall grasses, and under the rocks in the back garden, I hear the crickets. This sound, I know, heralds summer’s end.
Each turn of the seasons brings the bittersweet, the losses, and the gifts. Spring, with its eternal optimism always unleashes in me an unbridled coltish delight, a soaring of blood in the veins: the soft green of new beginnings, the first delicate blooms, the purple flash of hummingbird wings. The sound of the creek as it tumbles through grasses and ferns, spills over rocks and stumps, finding its way to the sea.
Then as the landscape shifts into summer, the creek becomes a splash, a trickle, then is silent. By this time the sound of moving water has drifted from my consciousness and the silence is replaced with the rasp of the crickets that sing all night in the hot, dry grasses. A young doe wanders through the garden, noses the low-hanging impatiens, nibbles on my newly-blooming asters.
Soon the winter birds will arrive, pecking at the bright orange mountain ash berries. Cool evenings, as August creeps into September. Then the rains and the smell of wood smoke haunt the air. Endings become palpable.
But there is a slow, sweet time before the end, a time not quite at the end, but when all my senses are alive. I’m contemplating endings and beginnings, mining thoughts like highways on a map that weave their way into memory, touching me sometimes with a small ache, especially now in this time of summer’s end. And I know. This is the time of letting go. This is the season of grace.