Much Ado: A Whole Month of Nothingness (Almost)

Published 7:24 pm Thursday, August 27, 2015


Life in Our Foothills, September 2015
By Steve Wong

September is my favorite month of the year for many reasons, but the top reason is because of the lack of things to do. Thankfully, September is the month I get to take a breather.
By the time September kicks in, the brutally hot weather of the Carolinas is usually behind us. Sure, we’ll have some hot days, but there will be some cool nights, refreshing mornings, and walkable evenings. There will be a change in the air, a great relief, the opportunity to roll down the car windows and let the wind blow the stale summer air out of the car and out of your body, mind, and spirit. It’s almost like a new beginning.

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You may have noticed a bit of change in August, but you knew not to trust it. A few not-so-darn-hot days here and there; your home air conditioner not kicking in every 10 minutes; the dog coming out from under the shade of bushes. That was just Mother Nature teasing us. In August, she is still one hot mother with only the vaguest notion of cooling off for any appreciable amount of time. By September, she’s ready to keep her promise of better days to come.

Of course, the unofficial end of summer is Labor Day, Sept. 7, this year. After that, the hotel rates begin to drop at the beach and everyone is ready to settle into a new routine of school and work. As much as we might enjoy the hectic days of summer vacation, we welcome the monotony of daily, routine life.

The official beginning of fall is Sept. 23. Get past these significant calendar dates, and there’s not much more to worry about until Halloween, Oct. 31, which is pretty much a full month and a half of gracious nothingness. But, oh, how I dread Halloween, which to me is the real beginning of the Holiday Season. I actually like Halloween, I just don’t like knowing that through Valentine’s Day I’ll be spending money and time faster than a seven-year-old can eat a bag of cheap candy, faster than an expensive dozen of red roses can drop their petals.

September is the month that I can walk out into the peach orchard in my backyard and glean the best peaches of the season. By then the orchard’s rightful owner has harvested all that he is going to get, and whatever else is left, is left to rot. I take my cue from Ruth. It is those very few peaches

left hanging by their lonesome that are the best of the best.

As I venture gingerly out into the orchard, careful to avoid the yellow jackets buzzing about the  rotting peaches on the ground, I am hypnotized by the nothingness. These trees are forgotten until next spring and will soon start to lose their leaves when cold weather sets in. The grass has been left to grow knee high. I smell putrid fruit vinegar. I look high and low for those peaches that were unripe during harvest but have since grown fat, red, and soft. They hang by a thread. There aren’t many but they are always the best, ready to eat right off the tree.

If I stand very still and wait for just a few moments, I always hear a “thump” somewhere in the  orchard and know that another peach has fallen naturally to ground, to recycle itself among the dried peach pits of seasons past. That last fresh peach of the season will have to sustain me until the

asparagus debuts in the spring.

This September, I plan on doing as much nothing as possible. It is me-time, earned after enduring the dog days of summer; it is time to shore up energies for the coming holiday. It is time to be as still as the last peach of summer hanging on for dear life.