Saturday, September 3, 2016


Image result for zinnia bed in old yard

I have such a love for the sssss of September’s beginning, as with all words which go so gently into the air like dandelion fluff.  September.   Susurrus.  Sigh.  Season.   South.  Silver.  Sibilant.   Soothe.

And the beginning of the month itself, long such a beacon to me through the heat and humidity of those Southern Summers, is something of a calendar day to a lot of folks, I’m learning.   I’ve seen blogs of special  dinners and garden parties and teas, in these just-past two days, all celebrating the closing of the Summer season, and the belling-in of the coming parade of holidays in swift array.  But the joys of Summer---somehow snapped and zipped shut in so many places by this Labor Day weekend---closed down and boarded up by the calendar, as if mere Time controls weather and mood---that’s always seemed strange to me, like trying to tell a toddler he’s sleepy just because it’s eight o’clock.

 We’ll celebrate this weekend with a birthday or two, a lunch on the freshly-furbished and scrubbed patio, with rainbows and unicorns and the scent of Ganner’s incomparable ham rising from the grill.  The weather IS, indeed, magically changed by wand of wind which blew in these perfect blue skies and seventies breezes, after such a hot and wet season as we’ve not seen in a long time.  

But somewhere, here and there and around, the sights and sounds and scents of Summer linger like that last ray of sunset, reluctant to dip away and fade out.   And the ones I remember most are the ones of long ago, still vibrant and beautiful, in my dreams:  

 A barefoot-stomped yard with the patch of zinnias against the shed---Big Ole Bubba-Flowers, zinnias, in their stiff, Raleigh-ruffed gaudy colours and a hardiness to the petals and wiry stems that will outlive many a graceful foxglove and tissue-curled snapdragon.

Chickachickachick of an old rotary mower as the rusty silver blades cut a path through the ankle-high grass; the Summer skrish of yard-broom sweeping the grass to the ends of the rows. 

Image result for vintage rotary lawnmower

The sound of the big old pecan trees in our yard, way up high in the hot, dusty boughs, as I hid from Mother to read through a lot of those long Summer days.   The scrunch of separation as two small grubby hands divided a Popsicle, the sharing and the inevitable drip offset by the deep draw of eager lips.  The whitening of the ice as the dyed juice was sucked away, like the fading shine of sand when the tide withdraws.  

Image result for red popsicles

The coppernickel tang on your hands, the smells and sounds of slingshots and marbles and BBs and all the other tools of a child’s happy trade.  Snap of slingshot, hiss of ball bearings or rocks through the air.  Satisfying smick or thunck, depending on target.  Click of marble on marble.  Deeper toned THUNK of throwin-knife into a target or post.  Smack of ball into glove and crack of bat-meets-ball.

Which-a-which of the old tall-necked copper lawn sprinkler, peeping up through the grass like a preying mantis as the water-drops fly.  

Image result for sprinkler in grass

The steady, solemn hum of fan-blades suspended in a white-raftered church; the unobtrusive wielding of wide-hipped funeral-parlor fans as the sermon rises in tempo and tone, and the competent, officious rush of white-clad, no-nonsense Lady-Ushers to the side of the faithful, too-overfilled with the Spirit and fainting from a combination of heat and zeal.  How I loved those purpose-in-life, take-charge women, with their calm caring and their confident air.  
Image result for church usher board  in white

The sweetest thunkch as a shade-cooled watermelon falls under the knife, giving up its heart on a battered picnic table.   Splashes and happy shrieks as children frolic through sprinklers and run heedless through another Summer afternoon.  

And the open-windows sleep-sounds of a million peep-frogs, as a faraway train wends its way through the night.

There's one more sound, such an important, wonderful, promising, cheerful Essence of Summer one, and a part of it has been stilled in an unimaginably senseless manner.  

 Today I'm mourning the Bees.


donna baker said...

I've been sitting on the porch with my mosquito zapper. It is so satisfying zapping the little pests. I think end of summer is time for a grand party, replete with individual bug zappers.

racheld said...

Oh, Donna! A KING SIzed mosquito zapper was almost the first gift Chris ever gave me. We lived WAY out in the country, and it was a bug haven outside. The first night, he spread a dark tarp beneath the gizmo, just to see what it could do. They swept up more than a QUART of little corpses off the tarp next morning. How ever many of the little critters do you think it would take to make a quart?

bj said...

I am always amazed at your posts that seem to be MY young life...xo

Mascha said...

What a wonderful post, captured the magic of september! Have enjoyed it today in the morning and wish, I had such oldfashioned rotary-mower (my former neighbors had still such one).
With us in Germany the climate may be a little different, but september is definitely my most beloved month in the year.
Enjoy the time :-)

Jeanne said...

Good morning my dear friend through blogging,(hope we can meet one day) This is such a beautiful way to describe the end of summer and it makes me think of those summer days of long ago. This summer was a flurry of being gone way too much but loving the adventures that took us all over the place. It was all about visiting family near and far away. A loving blessing as I think of how old we are all getting.

Fall is my favorite time of the year since I was a child who can remember so far back. One memory stands out in my mind when I was 7 or 8 years old. It was recess at our four room school of 12 grades and I was sitting on the teeter totter (see saw) with a big fall leaf in my hand. I was enthralled with the miracle of the beauty of the fall colors on that leaf. It was like God's hand touched it and it was a miracle. I missed that 'so much' when we moved to FL a couple of years later and my 'whole' life, that moment, gave me the yearning to live where leaves turn color again one day. Funny huh?

Happy Fall Rachel,
Love, Jeanne

Chronica Domus said...

What a rhapsody of summery delights you've provided your fortunate readers this morning (I'm a bit late reading this, obviously!). You make me want to travel east and join you in the not-quite-done-yet seasonal activities.

As you know, here in San Francisco we are still waiting for summer's arrival. If all goes according to plan, we should finally get our summer in October, or as we call it here Indian Summer. I cannot wait!

Chesapeake said...

Oh, dearest Rachel,
We have bees galore to go with our zinnias. Mexican sunflowers were the favorite new plant find this summer for Himself, beautiful orange-red flowers growing, reaching for the sky, blooming their hearts out. Along came Hermine to blow them down, but they are still blooming away to provide nectar for our many native bees as well as the honeybees and BUTTERFLIES all over the yard. Last summer was great with the butterflies, but this summer has been even better: look out any window right now, or walk out the door to see at least 2 Monarchs flitting around, and lots more in caterpillar form.

I will have Himself send you some seeds to plant next spring in the sunny spot where you used to raise your tomatoess!

GSL said...

I do believe Dear Rachel that you'd be the only girl granted full treehouse privileges by my best early boyhood buddy, Angus MacGregor, and I and we might even let you join us on our Grand Plan to ride the 100+ miles to Tweetsie Railroad (a la Lewis & Clark) in the Appalachians via horseback as 6year olds all by ourselves and we'd likely let you help us cut down pine trees for the log raft we built that was too heavy to be transported over to the duckpond and we were scolded by our mothers who got an earful by the developer who owned those wooded lots whose lumber we innocently poached.
Slingshots, bows & arrow, and frog gigging spears also were part of our summer arsenal. Doors were never locked, dogs never leashed, and bullying involved a bloody nose or black eye not a few harsh words.
Soon as this Indian Summer hear skedaddles, the best time of year begins all the way to Christmas Eve....which always had unanswered prayers of go-karts and mini-bikes.
You have a beautiful gift dear RAchel!

Beverly said...

My September memories center on back-to-school. I loved school, so it was always a happy time for me. New school supplies were such a treat.

Kim S. said...

Good LORD, lady, you can write!!! "Big Ole Bubba-Flowers, zinnias, in their stiff, Raleigh-ruffed gaudy colours" - best description of zinnias I've ever read.