I have been waiting for this day for so long, through 30 mostly-tough, mostly-awful days of September, a whole month of job-torture. To be fair, the month started really well, with a Labor Day weekend lost in a book, and ended beautifully yesterday with friends on a picture-perfect San Francisco Indian Summer afternoon in Golden Gate Park. But in between? Total crap.
But now it's here, this month that I always begin to long for sometime in the middle of August, when I start to get tired of the heat, when I start to feel exhausted by summer demands and I just want the wind-down to begin.
I just want the wind-down to begin.
Because that's what October always signals to me: summertime is done and it's time to begin that gentle slide into the cold and dark, time to take up the tomato plants, clear the garden beds, put the bees to sleep for the winter, curl up in the cold and quiet with a book and DO LESS.
I know we don't have all that much in the way of seasons out here in the great state of California, but what we've got is just enough for me.
The next time I'm in the woods (tomorrow, most likely), I'll smell it in the air: the slight snap, that smell of of dried leaves, and from somewhere a whiff of wood-smoke as some neighbor starts up their stove for the season. My thoughts will turn to baked apples and turtlenecks and the new pairs of Smart Wool tights I've been coveting. And boots. Naturally, boots.
I'm so happy this day is here at last, with all it represents for me -- an end to a bleak month-long period and the start of the dark restorative cycle of the year.
Small aside about yesterday.
Yesterday I was happy to be with friends at Alice Radio's Now and Zen Festival in Golden Gate Park. It's an annual event that we've missed more often than not, who even knows why. Because it's really fun to sit in the VIP area with a table full of good friends and their kids and eat and drink and just pass the time in each other's company.
And then there's the music.
Even when I'm not into the artist, there's something so powerful, so moving for me about an audience singing all the words, full throat, swept up in the music, the collective voice bigger than that of the performer on the stage. It was amazing, and strange (because I'm old and I don't get the specifics), to behold girls streaming past after Ed Sheeran performed, their faces wet with tears especially if they've made it backstage for an autograph or a photo.
Music is crazy, right? It means something to the person who makes it and then it becomes the property of every person who loves it, who knows the lyrics, who makes up their own story as they sing along.
And so it was when Alanis Morissette took the stage after a long wait, after most of our party had gone. She was tremendous. I was stunned by her voice, how strong and clear and beautiful she sang, what a professional she was, in full control, marching and leaping and jumping around the stage as Joe said, "like a caged tiger." And then I too was swept up, singing along with hundreds and hundreds of others, feeling that big swell start up under my heart. And couldn't stop the tears when as we all sang together, she changed the words to Ironic and sang it this way
It's meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful... husband.
All of what I've been holding back for a month came crashing out at that moment, and I was 100% happy through and through for the first time in weeks, released, freed, proud of my city, caught up in music in a sea of humanity along with my friends.
A perfect way to end September, to clear the decks and start October fresh, cleaned, ready to go, with a full heart and big songs in my throat.