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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Any vivid Summer memories you'd like to share?