September might be my favorite month. I love the often-fine weather and the potential for exciting new beginnings. School starts (all those years – as students and as parents of students). We married in September. Three years later in September our first son was born. Virginia Woolf wrote, “It’s a pleasant thing come autumn to make plans.”
But this September is looking a little quiet, and I am fighting the empty feeling that comes after a full holiday weekend. It’s sad to see the two pairs of slippers, worn by the young people on their visit, lined up in the corner of the entry. Dimming light brings a little melancholy this damp morning – foghorns on the Strait and three sweaters on me.
I’m always trying to wrestle my mind away from an unconstructive default. Overripe bananas moved me to make “Big Bird’s Banana Bread.” The fragrance of the banana bread baking set up a series of nostalgic (and not realistic) thoughts about the beginning of school, remembering years of banana bread as afterschool treat.
The recipe came from a long ago Sesame Street Magazine – I used to know it by heart, but to make it after we moved here I had to ask the mother of my young friend to send it down to me. It takes just a minute or so to put together – melt the butter, heat the oven, mash the bananas with honey, and add the dry ingredients and nuts if you like.
But it takes an hour to bake – and by that time I had turned to finishing up a series of foldbooks about autumn. (The words of Mary Oliver set me to work: “The working concentrating artist is an adult who refuses interruption from himself, who remains absorbed and energized in and by the work – who is responsible to the work.”)
The handwork of cutting the endpapers, titling the books, and picking colors for covers reset my mind. The six books, embellished with hop vines and rose hips, an orb weaver, late blooming-lilies, and Washington winter plant color, trace this time of late summer into winter. Drawn and painted over a couple of autumns, these pages are overdue for binding. (The foldbooks will decorate the header of “Her spirits rose…” to finish the year.)
I decided to take the banana bread to my bookbinder friends along with the books to be bound. They might have fall plans to tell. Then I can plan how to record September here – the images on the foldbook pages remind me there is much to cherish about this season.