Melancholy September

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

By By Connie Nowlin Managing editor
It happens to me every year at this time – well, not last year, when I was about to pop with the little guy, but that is another column.
Every year I get the irresistible urge to garden, to pot and plant, to till and prune and well, you get the idea.
I don't know why it hits at this time of year, since most people are bitten by this bug in the springtime.
And the other thing about the gardening gig is that I really am not too good at it.
Ok, I stink at it. If I get 10 plants on a window ledge, it could be called death row. It is not too big a stretch to guess that I could find a way to kill kudzu.
But every year, I think this could be the year. All the conditions are right. I can make enough time on the weekends that my porch-yard-patio will rival Martha Stewart's.
And every year I am very wrong.
But still I try, and there may be a reason for it.
To me there is a certain melancholy in the earliest days of autumn, brought on by the changing light, which grows longer, but softer now.
It is fueled by the difference in the foliage of the plants, going from the bright solid greens into the lighter, diffused colors that grace the little maples around town. They are still vibrant, just gently sliding into the silk suits they wear for fall.
And the whole experience is made bittersweet by the creaking arrival of the school bus, taking the little ones to be educated and leaving a mother's days echoing in the places where only a few weeks ago there were slamming screen doors and whining about boredom.
It seems that this is when the year starts to move at light speed, and if you look just down the pike, the holidays are approaching like the Polar Express, that train from the Christmas story.
So into that, I annually try to carve a little hidey-hole, a place to catch some air, and to stave off the approaching winter.
It never works, but I never regret trying to reel some part of summer back into September.
And who knows, this could be the year the mums bloom before the zinnias fade.
Connie Nowlin is managing editor of the Atmore Advance and may be reached at 368-2123 or email at

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