Here it is…September.
I’ve been looking forward to this month all summer long!
When cooler nights and milder days provide relief from the heat of August.
When a slower pace with fewer tourists offers more time.
Time to think, to relax, to recuperate from a busy season.
The garden is offering up its harvest. Every day there are things to pick, to prepare, to put up for winter. I’ve had to defrost and clean two freezers to prepare for this winter’s storage. My counter is lined with jars and containers, ready to be filled. Last night I was up past midnight processing chili base from my tomatoes, hot peppers and various greens. That’s been pretty much the norm, these last few weeks. The raspberry bushes need to be cut back. Peonies need to be mounded with straw. The potato plants are yellowing; it will soon be time to dig the potatoes.
The blackberries are ripening. How can I ignore them? They won’t wait until my schedule opens up! So, every day, bucket in hand, I wander the paths and fields and woods-edge around my house, to gather what has ripened. I don’t venture beyond – I don’t have the time! Sometimes, though, the thought of the berries down Camp #3 Trail or Green’s Lake Road dropping to the ground when they could be going in my freezer disturbs my sleep, and I wake up thinking I have to find more time. A day off, maybe?
But, no. This September, I don’t get a day off. My schedule as server, which gave me four days a week most of the summer season, has expanded to five days a week now that many of the workers have gone back to other lives. My job at the hardware store is one day per week, soon to expand to three days per week. Then I have my collection of “a few hours a week” jobs. I clean for my aunt. I teach after-school art. I write an article each month for our local news magazine. I am the Phragmites Administrator for Beaver Island. I work in my studio.
Some of these jobs I know by heart; I only need to show up and put in my time, doing the work I am hired to do. Others are more of a struggle.
I spent four early-morning hours recently writing, editing and re-writing a public notice about a meeting regarding phragmites treatment…only to find out I’d effectively written a press release, not a public notice. Because I’m still in the learning process regarding invasive species in general, and Phragmites in particular, I’ve had to allow time for research. Because September is a critical time for dealing with this problem, I’ve been learning on the fly!
I put a dozen hours into my class plan for the season, complete with a time-line going back to the Paleolithic Era, to illustrate the breadth of time we were covering…then was told my class will – this year – be divided into two classes, with less time for each. Everything needs to be re-worked. And, I need to find time to do an inventory of the materials-on-hand in my shared closet at the school, so that I can put in an order for what I need. Dependent, of course, on my class plan…which I need to re-do entirely, based on shorter class time.
Writing is always a long, hard, time-consuming process for me. In college, I’d wait until the 11th hour to start a paper, and sweat over it for long, sleepless nights before turning it in. The problem was this: if I started six weeks before it was due, leaving myself ample time for editing and re-writing, I would still be pulling “all-nighters” before deadline, doing last minute touch-ups. I’m just never satisfied. Taking on a writing project is, for me, killing off the last bit of spare time I might find!
The studio is similarly open-ended. If I finish three paintings and twelve collages for next year’s gallery opening…well, I could start that series of collagraphs I’ve been thinking about…or do a piece for the “Goddess Show” or to submit to the Alma Print Show or to “ArtPrize”. I could tweak my artist’s statement, or design a better business card, or send out a few letters to a few galleries. I could always clean the studio.
On top of all this, the lawn really needs to be mowed. The house could really use a good once over while it’s still nice enough to open windows. I’m halfway through tearing up the laundry room floor…which will then have to be replaced. The grapes are starting to ripen. The leaves are starting to turn; before long they’ll be falling.
Here it is: September…that tired time of year.