(Created September 16, 2003)
I’m not sure that I can put this in words. It’s a feeling. The first cool, smoky hint of dryness in the air. It’s the feeling of loneliness, a sadness one can not ignore when Summer’s hazes are mixed with just a hint of cool announcing Summer’s end. It’s an ache for something lost that nothing can turn away. It’s in your nose, your heart, your memory.
You may be dancing but you will stop and be still for a moment. You may be dreaming but it will awaken you. This feeling must have given birth to the name ‘September’ for it is Summer’s end. Days may be warm, even hot! But even this, from now on, is out of place, empty. It comes first in the late afternoon as the locusts are grinding out their last songs. They feel it in the dusty orange/pink glow in the west. And sing they do! Long drawn out as if a bird who beats with all her might to rise high one last time to view the majesty of an early Autumn sunset, knowing this could be her last , holding her glide, forever if she could for she will fall to her rest. Others of her kind know well this feeling. Once they have felt it nothing can be at ease until they gather and all at once take to the air for the great journey that only death can stop. They are driven by what this feeling announces.
I have thoughts of how Tom Sawyer must have felt as the days of barefoot youth are broken by the first ring of the school bell.
I feel a deep sadness for Summer’s end. One that reminds me that I have, only this year, lost my mother. That loneliness will have no comfort until I sit by a Winter’s fire and remember her again as I stare into the flames with a warm cup in my hands, alone. I’m also reminded of loves lost, a constant heart ache, thinking my very being will never be able to rise from this sadness. Yes, there will be days I will enjoy long sleeves, sweaters, coats but not now. Their anticipation holds no joy. Another Summer is dying. For now, I can’t see what I will be forced to see. There is a joy that will come, a welcoming of Fall with its cool nights, bright colors, and brisk clear afternoons.
Knowing that I have only a small number of Summers to enjoy, and I, too, will be gone, only intensifies my sadness although I have always felt this way as Autumn, like an unwanted drug, subdues the excitement of Summer’s delight. I can only imagine as I get older, how this feeling will be exaggerated. Is this the same emotion one experiences on realizing “I am getting old”? Or worse, “I am dying”? Has Summer’s end always been preparing us?
I am never as lonely as I am this moment of the year. No wonder the great bear decides to sleep! All living can not escape this wave as it passes. I imagine that finding a lover will fill the emptiness of this void. Suddenly I realize why I have been so eager to find someone. But I know too that I have survived Summer’s end alone before, but I don’t want to. I want someone to hold, someone to be there as the nights of early Autumn make me feel small, childlike, much too quiet.
The locusts have stopped now. Their echo rings in my mind for awhile. Will they be back tomorrow? This feeling tells me that they may not. Once they have gone for good I will start my own migration, my personal hibernation, putting away Summer’s bright dreams and toys and know, somehow, I will find joy in Fall, hopefully not alone, for Fall is only the opening of the cruel and beautiful crystalline door of Winter.