Try to Capture September
Here I am, once again. Yes, it is I, right here, standing smack dab in the center of the Month of September.
What am I doing this month?
I am checking in to say, “Hello! I hope you are enjoying the many shades of September in the place where you are today.”
I’ve been spending all my days thinking of September. I think of how I can write about her. The rapid changes that are occurring all around me this month make me dizzy: I’m giddy with bursts of nervous energy. This zest of high energy was unexpected – hidden in the mists of the crisp early morning. I floated, it seemed, at the crest of September with my feet stretched downwards to dig into the sands of its shoreline. I have been unsuccessful!
Since the beginning of this fast-moving month I tried to pay attention to the small nuances and lively details I experienced. I moved carefully, even cautiously through the month of Ever-changing September. Yes! I am still standing at the mid-point of the month and I feel like I am lost at sea.
I take a deep breath, hold it in for a couple of seconds as I remembered my fingers and looked at the computer screen. I exhale. Outside, someone is pounding nails with a hammer. Near my feet, the sleeping dog breathes softly; he shifts in his black furry bed. In his sleep he snorts, and my leather chair squeaks as my aching fingers pound out some letters on the stiff keyboard. I move my body forward again, bring my mind back to September. The sun streams through the dusty window. My back seeks the stability of my solid chair and I lean into it, put my hands to my face, close my eyes, and think about my breath. In and out. Inhale, exhale, pause, and inhale again. My chest rises, expands, as I hear the sharp piercing call of the eagle flying above the wall of lofty trees outside this window. I ask myself, “Did I remember to bring the cat inside so he is safe?”
I tried to find the right words for a poem to September. How illusive they are!
At the beginning of the month I remembered the gentle surprises I saw. Everything changed so rapidly. I took short walks in the woods and I looked over all of the changes I could find. My two dogs stopped, sniffed the breeze. They tried to catch the news of the day, bring it home and share it with me. We lingered for awhile on the narrow path. Sillently, I watched them stop and stare into the thickets then upwards into the tangeled trees. They paid close attention to all the wild flowers along our path . I touched those blooms so gently and tried to concentrate on the details – I wanted to memorize each slender petal of a Yellow Crownbeard flower. I gathered a bouquet of dainty White Snakeroot flowers in my hand for a moment. I carefully touched the leaves that surround it.
“How does it look in the shade?
How does it move in the gentle breeze?” I asked.
Try to remember it all!
I reached once again, touched the trunks of trees as we traveled together in the afternoon sun. I remembered the feeling of textures and the girth of an aged Maple tree in my arms. I tried to encircle it. I needed to get a good feel for the overlapping textures of the Locust tree, put it in my memory bank where my memory of it can be retrieved when winter days become anxious and lonely.
My bare feet are warmed as the heater turns on again. My manicured toes wiggle in the crimson red leather sandals. I will have to put my summer shoes away soon because the days are growing colder, darker, and the clouds drifting through this azure blue afternoon sky are gray and ominous.
Eventually, I realized what I searched for in the lonely month, September. Every new day in this quest twisted, turned in on me as I searched for the form that would be perfect for my September poem. I felt like a whirling dervish as I kept mentally marking the days and nights. I was swirling in ever smaller circles, round and round in a spiral. My feet were on sifting and shifting sand all the time. My thoughts raced far faster than I could ever write down. My entire body was quivering inside because of all the raw material of sensations that this month was giving me.
At this apogee, I realized September is a charade. She is undependable, captivating and quixotic. She cannot be captured in the Pantoum I had intended to slip her into. I thought of catching her by a sliver of one of her brightest yellow petals, flattening her between the pages like a Vilanelle. But the volume turned out to be a book of sand and I simply could not get a grasp on her!
This morning I tried to put some words to my paper. I had to step over obstacles of images and feelings. I thought, “I have to just go after a little piece of September. I need to catch her unawares, grab what I can. It might be just a fragment or an adjective. Do it quickly, and run fast, bring that piece to my paper and slap it down with glue. I’ll have to use E-600 for this job!”
What will be expansive enough to hold uncooperative September?
“Yes! I have got it now,” I reasoned. ” An ODE will celebrate precocious September!”
The 10-line stanzas of my “Ode for September”
will be as surprising as she, the Whirling Dervish!