My memory of Septembers in northeast Ohio are of crystal skies and filtered sunlight and lengthening shadows, a month as temperate as its equinox implies. The image here, however, taken September 8th, 2012 as I walked the center path of Squire Valleevue farm’s eastern meadow depicts a very different month and a very early portent of seasonal change. Stratocumulus clouds on the trailing edge of a cold front swept through that morning auguring an early winter. And in a moment of nature imitating art the landscape bore resemblance to layers stacked in a Rothco painting, a study in color, horizontals and horizons.
This was the rare and restive September day with uncharacteristic temerity, an abruptness and “matter of factness” foreshadowing change, where the transition of seasons is rarely subtle. Even September with its few discordant days, skies prematurely brooding and bracing, still the meadow waiting, a renascent source for life through each season.
And yet most of the month a contrast, a nostalgic time when tall meadow grass makes its final surge then rests weary upon itself. Blue asters, tenacious through their last days, Liatris and Ironweed bending reluctantly, folding and fading, their roots and rhizomes anchoring the meadow through time. I’ve often thought September in Cleveland to be a mix of memories and wistful, melancholic longings for another place or for past friends and family. The comforting melancholy of September is reflected in the last stanza of Robert Frost’s poem, “Reluctance”.
Was it ever less than a treason
Of a love or a season?”
The barn, its weathered sides and growing clefts reminding us of changes ahead; each season – life’s measure and mystery.