This year, fall came suddenly to Sofia. And I was once again reminded of my feelings for September – a very different kind from the high-strung expectancy of spring, the careless euphoria of summer or the pure glee of the first snow in the winter.
I thought I was quite alone in noticing, even quietly celebrating, the usually unremarkable (and unremarked) September, but I just came across this article, which conveys my feelings for the month so well that I wish I could have written it, though I obviously lack the articulate and eloquent language and the references to British pop culture and lifestyle.
As summer turned to fall overnight a few days ago, I woke up with the familiar feeling that September brings with it every year: an expectation of new beginnings, an anticipation of what the article’s author so gracefully calls “the delicious melancholy of autumn.”
He describes September as a “strangely neglected month, seldom sung, not really noticed until suddenly, one day, as with that one girl in the corner, you realize that you are in the presence of beauty and wonder why you’d never noticed.”
I remember being stunned the first time I experienced the beauty of September consciously. After having lived for five years in Kuwait – where there are no seasons to speak of and the months of the year are divided into unbearably hot and pleasantly warm, I went to university in the American Midwest.
After the first couple of weeks, in which summer gradually wound down, fall came with full force and the campus turned into the stuff of American liberal arts schools’ brochures. (I even have a sneaking suspicion that one of the reasons why I decided to go to Macalester was because its brochures featured an autumn maple leaf.) The trees turned all imaginable and unimaginable shades of yellow, orange, red and brown, and, in the four consecutive autumns of being there, I never did manage to get enough of walking through the fallen leaves on the ground, rustling underneath my feet.
Eight years later, it is still a quiet kind of delight.
“September, not spring, is the new beginning,” the article says, pointing to how this sentiment could be connected to going to school and the fact that every new academic year begins in September. Even though it’s now been six years since I’ve been out of school, I feel that, come September, the anticipation of new beginnings arises.
Many of my important relationships have started in September too, which was, of course, initially connected to the beginning of the school year, when I would meet new people, but then continued as somewhat of a tendency, in spite of my life no longer being tied to the academic calendar.
In September, I find myself able to pursue new projects, ideas and relationships with a calm, serenity and a drive that the restlessness of spring, the languidness of summer and the depression of winter make impossible.
I also quite enjoy the in-betweenness – between summer and winter, between hot and cold, between vacation and work, between travelling and standing still, which always seems to take place in September.
“September,” as the article’s author writes, “is far enough away from anything momentous that it can exercise a peaceful self-containment.” And it is this self-containment, perhaps, that allows for momentous things to happen. Though not on any official calendar, my personal history is filled with many milestones that took place in September.
“If there was ever a month you could fall in love with, it’s September. And like real beauty, September wears her glories subtly. To appreciate her (and if ever there were a female month, it’s September) it’s necessary to gaze directly, with a new eye.”
I just went out in the rain to take some pictures. And, once again, I fell in love.