September. Everything is near perfect in September. No air-conditioning and no heat with windows wide open for the evening breezes and the viewing of Saturn and Jupiter as they continue to light the way for ships at sea. (Well, at least they used to!)
Venus is still visible during the morning hours, but better hurry, soon it will be hidden by the rays of the sun. The summer constellations are still around, but Orion is just begging to be part of our sky and it is sneaking in its first appearance.
September brings the full Harvest Moon Friday evening. It does seem a bit early, but the Harvest Moon is the full moon nearest the autumn equinox so there it is Friday night. It was aptly named in Europe and then in the United States as the Harvest Moon as farmers could work late into the night by the light of the moon. I know the folks at the farmers market will delight in next Friday’s moon as they continue to gather and harvest the end of the summer’s bounty and beginning to bring in the autumn delights.
I must say I am trying to hold back on the autumn decorating, but I have to sneak in a few things each day. I have replaced the geraniums in the window box with blooming purple asters! There are a few fragrant mums showing up in my gardens as well. My long standing sunflowers, which had just started to bloom, are now amass among the summer garden thanks to last week’s storm. I thought they would be safe as they grow next to the garage, but alas, alas. Hopefully the bees can find their way into my garden. But why not? The zinnias are still strong and blooming and the purest blue morning glories dot my fences and curl around anything possible.
September brings the harvest, and memories of the harvest seep into my dreams and my thoughts daily. When we were all young on the farm, we all worked at harvest time. One year we raised so many cabbages that we made kraut in huge crocks. I picked, washed and dried the cabbages and then grated them into the crock, alternately with the salt for preservation. My boys were little so I could lift them up one at a time, barefoot as they stomped down the cabbage. I believe we had kraut with every meal that winter! However, to this day, those boys do not eat sauerkraut, let alone make it from their own gardens.
The last of the jams and jellies will be cooked down and set in small jars for the winter. There was that time I made enough for the whole winter, but now I make the jam for holiday gifts to family and friends. What really is better than homemade blackberry jam? I think nothing!
I see the changes in the landscape as Lola and I follow the dusty back roads full of chicory and goldenrod. I stop at every little corner market to buy onions and garlic and the last of the sweet corn. The field corn is curling and turning brown to the eye and soon the great harvest machines will dot our fields and our roads. Be kind when driving behind the harvest vehicles; they are producing food for us. A friendly wave is always encouraging to the farmer behind the wheel.
The sun slants now as we head into harvest season. Where sunbeams used to fall in this old house, they have now drifted, letting other parts of the room feel the morning light. I find darkness comes rather quickly once the sun departs the sky. And the smell of September is pungent with neighbors sporting campfires with hot dogs and marshmallows with the lingering coals filling in the dark places.
It is September. Truly such a marvelous month of beauty and change. Don’t miss it. Let the air blow the curtains wide and cool in the evenings.
Don’t forget the full moon on Friday. I just mailed a box of dried rose petals to the Charleston Children for them to toss into the night sky on Friday. You can do the same with your rose petals, and if no flowers grace your doorway, then just make a wish under the light of the moon.
TH White once wrote, “The summer was over at last, and nobody could deny any longer that the autumn was definitely there.”
Lou Ann Homan-Saylor lives in Angola at the White Picket Gardens where you can find her gardening or writing late into the night under the light of her frayed scarlet lamp. She is a storyteller, teacher, writer, actress and a collector of front porch stories. She can be contacted at [email protected]