Thursday, October 10, 2019

September Hodgepodge

September marks one of those in-between seasons: no longer full summer, but just reaching into fall. The kids have returned to the classroom, but they are still settling into the new school year routine. The days might feel steamy-hot, but they can also be wear-a-coat chilly. The flowers are mostly gone, but the leaves are popping with new color. This time of year is sort of a mashup of different things – a little of this, a little of that.

Between seasons (a few years ago).
The other day I went out to the garden and picked a handful of Brussels sprouts. Given the cabbage-worm-eaten look of the giant leaves, I’m guessing these might be the only Brussels sprouts I get this year, at least from my own garden. There are a few carrots left to pull from the ground, but the bulk of summer’s bounty has been plucked and consumed.

Last week’s frost did leave a few veggies unscathed – or at least didn’t damage them past the point of recovery. The leaves of my last two rows of green beans browned in the cold of those two consecutive frosty nights, but the beans themselves survived to be eaten. And while the older leaves of the sprawling zucchini plants have wilted with time and chilly temps, there is still new growth – bright green against the shifting colors of fall – and a few more squash to be picked.

The berries are gone, and the apples are abundant. The perennial bed has yellowed and waits to be cut down for the winter, and the fields are mostly straw-colored now as growing things fade away – except for the tall purple asters, whose vivid color seems bright even against the glow of changing red and orange and yellow showing from the trees.

The kids still head outside to play after school, but they’re coming to terms with the reality that there is not much light – or warmth – lingering after dinnertime. And there is homework to do now, and earlier bedtimes to match the earlier mornings. Weekends, too, are a mix – of persisting summer chores and preparing-for-cold-weather tasks, of regrouping from the busy weeks and keeping up with the weekend events, of slowing down and hurrying up.

My own work right now is also a bit of a jumble of wrapping up loose ends and chasing new leads, as I work to cross that bridge between the writings of one season and the stories of the next.

Between work and chores, soccer practices and dinner prep, family time and outside obligations, I remember to take in the shifting colors of this early fall – in the yard beyond the garden, on the hillside behind the high school soccer field, along the rivers and roads, as I make my way between seasons.

Original content by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul, posted to her blog, Writings From a Full Life. This essay also appears as Meghan's Close to Home column in the September 27, 2019 issue of the Littleton Record.

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