Ah, September, I love you. Especially from the vantage point of the Labour Day weekend. The true last weekend of summer, even though summer still carries on for three more weeks. By the end of August, cooler weather starts to settle in at night, and one feels recalled to life. As if the real world has stalled all summer, and only now kicks back into gear. School starts officially on the Tuesday after Labour Day. And so on this long weekend, one feels such anticipation for what September might bring this year. And slightly overcome with nostalgia too, for everything that September used to bring.
Like new shoes for school. In fact, a whole new first-day-of-school outfit. And crisp blank-paged notebooks. Or scribblers as we called them back in the day. Sharpened pencils. Plain and coloured. A new Barbie pencil case and matching lunch box. The feel and smell of new textbooks and “readers.” The first ecstatic glimpse in the school yard of friends not seen since June. And the Fredericton Exhibition for which we’d saved our pennies all summer. Joy.
Then when I was a bit older, the year we moved to the farm, all that long Labour Day weekend I lived with the fear that I’d never meet new friends at my new school. That I’d never fit in. Then amazingly I found two kindred spirits just when I thought my life was over. Oh, the drama of being fourteen. Ha. And then there was basketball practice. The camaraderie of being part of a team. Dances in the school gym. My life was not over after all.
At home the barn was filled to the brim with hay. And the kitchen with the smell of mustard pickles cooking. I roamed the hills with my sketchbook. Or picked apples with Mum in the old orchard. One time stepping carefully among the windfalls to avoid the wasps in order to shoo back to the pasture the foraging cattle who’d jumped the fence. Cows among the apples trees in fall were not to be tolerated. Given half a chance they would feast on stolen apples, which would ferment in their stomachs, making them wildly drunk. I didn’t know that drunk cows were a thing until my stepfather told me. It’s really funny until a staggering cow falls and breaks a leg. Then it’s not so funny.
Years later, as an adult, I’d not be able to rest all Labour Day weekend, anticipating the first day of school as a teacher. Recalled to my working life. The crop of new fresh faces in my classes. Blank-paged notebooks all ready for lesson plans. Crisp new textbooks and novels. Greeting colleagues and friends that I’d not seen since June. And that all important first-day-of-school outfit. The more things changed the more they stayed the same. Well, except for the Barbie lunch box. Ha.
And now that school is done for me, I’m still restless and anxious on Labour Day Weekend. Not with worry or fear. But with the need to get moving. I still feel recalled to life when September starts.
There are blog issues that I put on the back burner over the summer. I need to clean house, digitally. And I need to clean house, our real house. I’ve been lolling around since I returned from New Brunswick. I’ll do a big clean soon when Hubby is away on his fishing trip. And have a clear out. My September chore list is ready.
I plan to unpack some of my fall clothes soon. Particularly the lighter sweaters that I can wear with my tee shirts and tank tops. And under my spring jackets. Once the daytime temperatures are cool enough I always like to give my spring jackets and suits one more trip round the block, styled for fall, instead of spring. And I have shopping plans. Not necessarily to buy. I’m just anxious to browse.
Once the kids are back at school, I plan to spend a day downtown, in the old part of Ottawa. Poking around the small independent boutiques. Seeing what I can see. Just enjoying being out and about on a weekday in the fall, something that I could never do as a teacher. Oh, the joy. And, oddly, even after years of retirement, the slight feelings of guilt. The nagging thought that this luxury is “not allowed.” Ha.
And you know what else? You know what other joy September brings each year? A whole crop of new books. More and more joy. Not textbooks and notebooks waiting to be filled. But books that I’ve been ordering and stockpiling, waiting to be able to enjoy them on the deck with my tea. Most of the summer has been too hot to read on the deck. At least after ten o’clock in the morning. But soon, I’ll pull on my sweatpants and socks instead of shorts and flip flops, and settle in.
Shall we see what’s on deck for deck-reading this fall?
There’s the newest Robert Galbraith, Cormoran Strike mystery, The Ink Black Heart. Hubby and I have both been anticipating this since we finished the fifth book in the series last spring. And a couple of gentle reads: Elizabeth Taylor’s A View of the Harbour, recommended in a Slightly Foxed podcast. And D.E. Stevenson’s Young Mrs. Savage, which I must admit I’ve started already.
I pre-ordered ages ago the new Ann Cleeves “Vera” mystery, The Rising Tide. It’s waiting for me while I finish the D.E. Stevenson. I’ve also pre-ordered Andrew Sean Greer’s Less is Lost, the follow-up to his wonderful Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Less which I enthused about in a post a while ago. And I’ve put my name on the list at the library for Dervla McTiernan’s newest mystery The Murder Rule. The library says the wait is twenty-four weeks… so we’ll see if I can be patient, or if I will capitulate and order it on Kindle. Hubby and I love McTiernan’s Cormac O’Reilly series starting with The Ruin. I’m a sucker for a book set in Ireland, I must say. This latest one is a stand-alone, but I have great hopes for it.
So, for me the last true summer weekend has always been about anticipating fall. Because fall is my best season. The time when I feel recalled to life, to real life. September has always meant new beginnings. New books, new clothes, new schools, new friends.
But, you know, as much as I can look back on Septembers past with nostalgia, I don’t miss the worry and anxiety that usually attended those first weeks of fall term. Septembers are way more wonderful when not accompanied by fears of social failure, homework, and a deluge of marking.
How about you, my friends? Are you anticipating being recalled to life with the advent of September. Are you excited about new fall fashion? New books to read? Cool weather?
P.S. The book links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a small commission which helps to pay for the blog.