The first cool day since May.
The sun has been shining all day, but the blue sky is covered in lacy clouds. I can smell the leaves, the dark brown warm smell of them on the damp grass. The only flowers left are the cheery black-eyed-Susans and the soft pink “Autumn Joy” sedum.
The last few cherry tomatoes are still ripening, and a handful of carrots still rest in the garden bed.
It was cold last night. The air that snuck in the window was crisp and sharp. We pulled our blankets up.
I can feel the winter out there, ready to pounce.
It’s mid-afternoon. The sun is as high as it will be. I am out on the deck, thinking that it is time to put away the hummingbird feeder. I sit with my feet on an empty chair, my elbow resting on the outdoor table. Soon enough, we’ll fold up the big green market umbrella, wrap it in vinyl and store it in the shed. Soon enough, we’ll fold up the chairs and put them away safely for the winter. We’ll cover the kettle grill, and move it closer to the house. Soon the tiki torches, citronella candles and mosquito coils will be stored in the basement until next spring.
But not yet.
I sit outside, in the bright sun’s light. I tilt my chin up, to feel it on my cheeks and neck. I feel it as much as I see it through my closed eyelids, pressing gently, caressing and soft.
The breeze is cool, and the air smells of leaf mold instead of hay. But I can still feel the sun, feel it pouring over me and coating me in light. I sit very still. I roll up my sleeves. I wait.
I feel myself pulling in the last lingering energy of the summer sun. I will try to hold onto it, to store it deep inside me, in the marrow of my bones. I’ll try to commit it to memory, so that I can pull it up again when I need it. When I need it in January, as the cold winds blow, and the icy rains fall. As I wrap myself in wool and fleece and try to get through the long gray days.
September is a chance to stock up on everything that is good, and to store it away for the dark days. Tomatoes and carrots and apples and sunlight and the sound of ocean waves. Weddings and hugs and happy charcoal smelling dinners.
September sunlight is a gift. The trick is to capture it, and to keep it.