It’s as if August knows that September is right behind it, so it hurries out of the way.
The shift from one month to the other is swift and definite. Even December, when it ushers out the year and draws the new one in with a bang, seems less abrupt than the reality of the calendar flip that takes place on the Labour Day weekend.
Everything just feels different. It is different. And that’s okay. Even if you don’t know you’re ready for it, you absolutely are ready. Believe me.
I know this to be true because I am someone whose nostalgic romanticism can often lead to the blues at this time of year, particularly after a week away from my everyday reality. Change. I know it’s necessary, but it makes me feel like a feather in the wind.
On the morning of the last day of August, I stood on a dock overlooking Sturgeon Lake drinking my coffee, reflecting on the amazing week that I had just enjoyed with three awesome teenagers. I knew that soon we’d be packing up the cottage, loading up the car and making the three-hour trek back home.
Back to reality. Back to work and school and sports. And while none of us really wanted the fun to end, we were all happy to head home because, well, it’s home.
I remembered the last column I wrote just before I left, where I visualized how my cottage trip would be wonderful. It was. A week away was good for my soul.
I put my phone away. I read an entire book, start to finish. Caught a fish. Danced in the rain (I have a superstitious fishing dance – don’t judge, it worked). I spent time with young people, which reinvigorated my hope for the future. I enjoyed time alone too.
There were road trip adventures with U-turns and unexpected treasures. French fries at the roadside stand. I walked a lot. I slept like a kitten. And when I felt the worries of what lies ahead start creeping into my mind, I whacked them with a kayak paddle. Living in the moment is so much easier when you have a lake view to remind you even the waves come and go. Ebb and flow.
That last cup of coffee on the dock was a perfect end to toast to a perfect summer. What made it perfect was not so much that every day was rainbows and sunshine. It wasn’t. There were crappy moments, long days, ridiculous deadlines and sleepless nights.
But, this summer, I focused less on worrying about the things I cannot control and put all that energy into what was right. I made the choice. It’s work. Sometimes, I had to dig deep to find the pearl in the day. It’s so much easier to pay attention to what’s wrong. It’s a habit I have perfected. I should keep that kayak paddle close at hand.
A week away was everything I needed it to be. Heading home was everything I needed too.
Sweet September. The change in the air, the subtle way night encroaches on the day earlier than it did just a week before, casting shadows longer than you remembered, with the trees blacker against the sunset. Back to work. Back to school. Back to reality.
We’re ready. I’ve got this. You’ve got this too. Believe me.