It’s an odd month. A transitional month.
For all intents and purposes it’s still summer – at least in the American South!
It’s still hot. Shorts and flip flops are still my standard attire when I stagger home from the office.
The sky is still a pale, hazy, lazy, polluted summertime blue – not yet the gorgeous cerulean of October. What people refer to as “Carolina Blue.”
The days aren’t noticeably shorter.
Leaves are still green.
And yet …
And yet …
Something is different.
There’s a new undercurrent of energy starting to crackle in the air.
Maybe it’s partly the lifting of humidity, which takes with it summer’s lethargy and ennui.
Maybe it’s the excitement of children going back to school. New friends, new clothes, new backpacks and notebooks and composition books – oh, how I used to love new composition books with all those fresh, clean pages just waiting to be written on!
As someone who spent a great deal of her life being a caregiver, I envy those children a little – all those new beginnings the school year brings, all the possibilities. Still young enough to reinvent themselves from grade to grade, still young enough to believe that ANYTHING can happen…
And for most of them, anything can.
My eating habits start to change in September.
Cold morning smoothies and fruit eaten on the run give way to warmer and more substantial fare – hot cereals, gravy biscuits, tofu scrambles, and French toast and waffles on the weekend.
Soups suddenly seem a heck of a lot more appealing.
I begin cooking Indian food again – traditional Punjabi food or my own little fusion dishes. It takes a long time to cook the onion masala, and in the hellish heat of a Southern summer I don’t relish standing over a hot stove that long. But, sometime in September, spending an hour in the kitchen starts to seem more comforting than onerous.
And produce! September produce seems – at least initially – the same as August’s. I’m very fortunate that I live in a place where I can purchase almost any type of fruit and veggies year-round – the only variables being price and taste.
Still, there’s some sense of fleetingness, of urgency, when I go into a market in September. I want to sample all the stone fruits (peaches, plums, apricots) one last time. I want to eat as much fresh, sweet corn as possible – because Heaven knows frozen corn just ain’t the same!
Blackberries, muscadines, and scuppernongs begin making an appearance, mingling with the last of the strawberries and blueberries.
Apples suddenly take on a special magic.
Before I know it, my beloved watermelons are replaced by pomegranates and pumpkins.
And then it’s the Equinox and I realize the days really are getting shorter and the nights cooler.
And I start noticing crows and daddy long legs. And the sky really does seem to be getting bluer.
And I start thinking about Autumn hikes through colorful woods and bonfires and football games and tailgating and country fairs and All Hallow’s Eve …