I’ve been hit hard by August melancholy this week and the singular beauty that briefly encompasses the end of summer and the beginning of fall. It’s such a small window of transition where we all hold our breath and wait, suddenly realizing that those endless summer nights have subtly gotten shorter, and the mornings need a sweatshirt.
Over the past five years, September has marked the start of hurricane season. Fall meant checking the hurricane update every day and knowing in our guts an evacuation was coming. The heat held on as long as possible, remaining well into the 80’s through Halloween some years. Even back before we had the boat, California also liked to skip autumn.
But this window reminds me to pause, instead of pushing forward through each change like I usually do. It isn’t just suspension, however, I am actually being brought back in time. I don’t know if it is because I’m writing my first YA novel, or the temperature drop over Labor Day weekend always meant back to school, but I don’t feel like a 32-year-old mother of two.
Instead of sending my own four-year-old off to school this week, I half-expect to walk out the front door and find my little gold 1995 Honda parked in the driveway, pom poms in the back window. I am forever sixteen in September, spending my Friday nights under the bright lights of a stadium. My nose is numb but my body is warm, cheering on a team everyone knows is not very good but we do it anyway.
I have no desire to relive these years. Once was enough! But this time of year seems to have brought back the memories with a poignancy I had not expected. I choose to think of it as a little visit from my former self, and maybe I’ll get to see her every September from now on. Maybe she’ll be proud to see what changes each year brings me, and I’ll greet her memory as a reminder of how far I’ve come.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go season everything in my life with pumpkin spice.
Taylor (Conor, W, and R, too!)