"By all these lovely tokens September's days are here. With summer's best of weather, and Autumn's best of cheer." - Helen Hunt Jackson
|Late September Sun shining on The Pool in Central Park.|
Fall has been so spectacular this year - just as the early foliage reports promised (I start reading them in August) that it has raced by. You can ramble in the piles of color for hours every day with your baby Labrador but the night descends earlier every day and you have to turn your back on the rocks and hills and leaves and water at some point earlier than you want to and go home and make dinner.
It was September only yesterday. September is thrilling because it is just at the start of all the best of the year. It's luxurious because it is all about to begin. The weather is slowly turning: there are painfully hot days interwoven with sudden gusty cool ones. Pumpkins begin rolling off of trucks and onto grocery stores' outdoor tables, books about squirrels and the life cycle of acorns pile up at Bank Street Bookstore, many families walk to and from temple on two consecutive sunny but cool Saturdays to mark Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. And apples are everywhere. Construction paper art projects decorate the windows of elementary schools and remind me of my own school days in Los Angeles when we had to pretend that it was fall. If we had a rainy day we could pretend we had fires that needed lighting and sweaters that needed donning, even though it was 70 degrees.
But in the east I have found it at last - the land of russet colors that had previously existed for me only in movies about eastern prep schools in the 1950s and in calendars sent in the mail from environmental groups raising money.
There is something sad, even anxious about the end of November. It's all happening too quickly! We played by the statue of Humboldt yesterday at The Naturalists' Gate and saw the bleachers set up for the Macy's Parade. The Christmas lights are up around every museum doorway and in the windows of elegant restaurants on Columbus and Amsterdam Avenue. Zipped into my Land's End parka and wrapped in a shawl to fight the biting wind, my daughter begged to walk out of our way to see the Christmas wreaths and white lights at Isabella's. Heating lamps warm outdoor tables for diners brave enough to eat in 25 degree winds. The Christmas tree stands will arrive next weekend.
Before they do, I want to look back lovingly not just at September in general, but this September. This one was glorious, and now that my child is complaining of the bitter cold and unpersuaded by the promise of sledding down Cedar Hill next week, I want to remember the cool but sunny days in which she happily romped with friends and, most importantly, by herself. I want to hold onto the days when it was beginning to look a lot like Autumn...but only just beginning.
Marching on the bridge.