Tuesday, September 1, 2009

There is a season, turn, turn, turn...

There are three calendars hanging on my office wall, each with its own theme and significance, and this morning I turned their pages all. September 1st, Year after year it’s more than just another date in the calendar. It’s a psychological milestone. And this year is no exception, for even though the Labor Day holiday is later than usual, and the rude crowds are still elbowing and driving their way through narrow doorways and streets, the mind does change on September 1st. Even today’s weather supports this theory, as we awoke to a cool fifty three degrees and pulled on sweaters. For no matter what the almanacs say, today is the beginning of the end of summer.

You don’t believe me? Take a good look around because the signs are everywhere. The afternoon light is lower than of late; geese are on the move again, the green colors of summer are starting to lose their deeper hues, and, perhaps most significant of all, stores such as Kmart are moving in their Halloween costumes and candy!

Even the Back to School shopping season has drawn to a quick end. Pencils and notebooks, together with vastly over-priced calculators, are now ready for the first day of term, and so are we. There’s a hint of nostalgia too, as those of us who have grown up (at least in terms of years passed) recall going back to school after the long summer months. All those stories to tell, all that catching up, and even a hint of enthusiasm for new subjects and different teachers. Most of that is now gone, thanks to text messaging and Facebook, but the novelty still lingers.

In exactly one week’s time our summer visitors will pack and return to their urban boxes. Even as we offer economic thanks for their generous contributions to our local market, we must surely feel a sense of relief – and maybe even mark their passing with a ritual. I’m going to suggest that we do this: On the Tuesday after Labor Day we should place a pumpkin at the end of our driveway or on our doorstep. Or perhaps a few apples, or a corn stalk or three, anything that suggest the spirit of Autumn. A simple, symbolic gesture that announces to all who pass by that we are staying, and this is now our new season.

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