The other day, as I was walking Ginger around the block, I heard a flock of Canada Geese honking overhead. I never saw them, but I envisioned them flying in V-formation, heading south.
August is over. I’m writing on the first day of September. Even though summer doesn’t officially end until later this month, Labor Day is always my turning point from the comfort of warm, long days of sunlight into the prospect of cooler, darker, busy fall.
Sugar maple leaves are the first harbinger, speckling the sides of our street for the past few weeks with splashes of gold and tangerine. As the days grow shorter, the trees begin their annual rite of passage, hardening for winter. Today seems odd—it’s muggy, hot and very sunny. But the trees know better, what’s coming.
As I write, Emily and Al are packing a friend’s truck for the drive out to her new apartment. Grad school starts this week, both for her, as a first year master’s student, and for Mindi, entering her second and final year of her professional degree program. Closer to home, public schools began last week. Time, once again, to remember to avoid leaving the house mid-afternoon when school buses from nearby schools travel their routes.
I’ve spent much of my Labor Day weekend sewing. I’m nearly done with a new dress. But, of course, it’s a summery dress, not a fall outfit. For some reason, I am never able to sew ahead of the season. I bought the pattern in July. I’ve had the fabric, a beautiful fuchsia knit, for at least five years, purchased another summer with a different dress in mind.
Two weekends ago, I finally altered the pattern and cut out the pieces. I started sewing in the evenings, until our house was full with family, and I had to clear off the dining room table. So I dug in again yesterday, because I finally had time, and because I didn’t want the dress to wait another full year. I may still get some use out of it before the weather consistently cools off.
I am a slow sewer. I have to pace myself because of my hands, and I can’t manage the fabric as well as I once could, which is why I don’t sew often. Picking out seams when I mess up, which is more often than I’d like, is tricky and tedious. I’m more willing to live with mistakes that no one else will notice, given my limitations. The end result is still good enough, albeit not the perfection I’d prefer.
I would like to sew more. My favorite sewing magazine is full of luscious fall fabrics in autumnal hues. The dress pattern I’m using comes from a designer who creates lovely, easy-to-construct clothes. I hate shopping for ready-to-wear, and sewing is the perfect antidote—not only a way to create unique clothes that actually fit, but also a great meditation. Nonetheless, I have to respect my hands. And my energy. And the number of hours in the day.
Ahead lies a solid lineup of work and creative projects to take me well into the fall. Much as I love the summer months, it’s easier to concentrate as the weather cools and everyone else is back to work or school. The trees may shed their leaves and the geese fly south, the weather will inevitably make me long for warmer days and fewer layers, but I’m looking forward to the crisp crackle of new beginnings.
I just need to sew up that wonderful warm fabric I wove last winter into a jacket, before the days grow long again.
Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.