I’m starting to dislike September. It’s a fine month, as far as months go, but what exactly is September? Is it summer? Yes. Is it fall? Yes. Is it both and neither at the same time, on the same day? Yes. It’s warm and then it isn’t. It rains and then it’s dry. I turn on the heat at night and the air conditioning in the afternoon. My dad could never understand such opulence, but here I am. Toggling between electricity and natural gas as if I haven’t a care in the world, except this heat or this chill. I have decided after 43 of them that I no longer like September. October is where it’s at.
I wanted to play tennis yesterday morning. I had planned on it for several days, but on Saturday the wind blew and blew and it wouldn’t quit. So Sunday it would have to be. Except Sunday morning was chilly and tennis balls dislike the cold so we pushed that tennis to later today. A childhood friend was in town and so after the Bears did what it is that they do, I picked up another childhood friend and joined our out of town friend and we played a little golf. The Grand Geneva isn’t the course it once was, with its increasingly sloppy tee boxes and its pocked greens, but the course will still easily perform well enough to justify the seasonally adjusted modest rate of $35 for nine holes. And so we took to the fairways yesterday afternoon. I wore shorts, because I fear being hot, and the sun washed over the course before it set in the west well after the moon rose in the east. It was, without any doubt, the finest afternoon golfing weather I could imagine.
But it’s not just golfing weather that October does well, it’s everything weather. My brother was up on Sunday and he spent a few hours on the boat. The weather was perfect for fall boating, without any hint of confusion as to whether or not this was a summer ride or a fall one. October doesn’t offer up some insulting confusion in the way that September does. There’s nothing sneaky about October. My wife took some friends’ kids to the pile of hay at Pearces that we’ve affectionally called “The Hay” since our own kids were young. It was warm in the sun but not hot. The kids played in and inhaled the tightly bound summer dust and everyone was happy.
This morning, the lake was steaming. I used to view this as a negative development. The lake, giving up what is left of its summer warmth, succumbing to the cold nights and preparing for the freeze. I was tormented by this for years, or decades. The thought of a long winter left me ornery and depressed. Today I feel no such animosity towards the inevitability of this process. In fact, I welcome it. The lake steams and the crops are harvested. The deer run and the turkeys scratch and peck while the piers are stacked and the lawns fade. Who could find time to do anything but respect this process? In September, the process begins but it feels rushed. It feels misplaced. Why would I take my pier out when it’s 82 and sunny? I wouldn’t, because that’s the sort of silliness that abounds in September. October is here, and along with it, the ushering in of a new season. A season full of crisp 64 degree days and still water. October doesn’t pretend to be anything that it isn’t. It’s just fall, and it’s here, and it’s absolutely glorious. You should probably be here for it.