September: Give me your hum

end of summer savor - postcards.jpg

I’m writing postcards to summer:  Wish you were here. Miss you already. Come back soon. 

This is metaphor. And not. For years I’ve fought this season with the same refrain: not ready, not ready, not ready.

And all at once, summer collapsed into fall, wrote Oscar Wilde.

It's the sharp shadows of September that pull me down, how the light both leans in and tilts away from beauty. Into these shortened days, dampness moves too quickly.

It's always too soon. I'm never ready. If autumn is the season of letting go — heat, light, leaves — then summer is the blast of energy I briefly harness and just as my trust reaches full speed, summer falters and slips away.

I married in September, and spent Septembers at a high mountain lake where I learned to embrace the language of change: cloister, clarity, crystalline, warmth, nourish, now.

I know autumn brings good things, but slowly, quietly, and with shadows of doubt.

Now I am older and see everything as it was, and as it wasn't.

Happiness is just the patina of memory. Even patina — a soft wash of time and wear — is cousin to sepia, which surely belongs to September.  

Was I born longing? It's melancholy I know best.

Invocation At The End of Summer

I call on the spirit of summer’s end,  
of tangled roots and the earth’s 
mold. Give me your hum.                               

I call on things that thrive in byways—
snakeroot, aster, dock. The teasel 
that pricks, the pod that slips away. 

 Give me light, charged with a flush 
of quick shadows—the sun stretched
flat across the grass, sullen, satisfied.

Let me feast on the overripeness of things,
the spice of apple that dazzles wasps 
and spins deer in drunken staggers
over the field. Give me your heat.

I call on things that sweeten and fall— 
butternut, pippin, the fluttering hearts
of rosebud—the luscious drip of evening,

 a shuddering of birds rising up 
and settling, the last secrets of the katydid.

 Let me put my head among the leaves. 
Let me listen.

— Shirley McPhillips
from Acrylic Angel of Fate