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September Song

IN SEPTEMBER, so many things affect us ... the beginning of school, cooler nights and the likelihood of frost, the end of the fishing season, the promise of woodfires, the magic of the Northern Lights ready to take center stage. Just published on Boreal, "September Song" reflects on these changes.

In all the English language, few words express so much as the word “bittersweet.” We could round the edges a bit to make it less harsh. But as the days of September roll on, I think of this word and how it typifies this unsteady season.

Bittersweet are kids leaving home for grade school, grade school for high school, and high school for college. Parents are all too aware of time’s passing and how that life stage is gone. There is a catch in the throat of regret yet also deep gratitude.

The canoe season shows the first signs of closing down here in the Arrowhead. Some of us grieve that. But we also remember unique places and the people we were with those summer days.

Our town is taking a breather from tourists. Color tours will start soon, and skiing after that. But the rush of the municipal park is over and, with that, the spirit of visitors strolling the harbor walk.

Bittersweet encompasses so much more than ordinary language. It is “a mixture of sadness and happiness” (Cambridge Dictionary). To me, it so perfectly describes much of life. Events are not only ambiguous grey. They have color on both ends: regret and mourning, deep joy and pleasure.

A synonym for bittersweet is the word “poignant,” “something that affects you deeply.”(Collins English Dictionary). What an engaged pairing! People go back to see the farm or the old cabin. We remember with sadness those times now gone. We are thankful for the people we shared them with. It’s all one.

In September, gardens will soon be cleaned up, poignant in their reminder of how quickly summer is gone and how seed catalogs will be arriving soon for another go around.

Things seldom move in black-and-white. Our emotional world is intricately complex and yet quite simple if we can embrace both bitter and sweet together.

As a therapist, I often would say to individuals, “You don’t have to choose.”

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Judith Vallance
Judith Vallance
Sep 15, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thanks John - just joined - always love to see your thoughts!

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