Contemplating September 2020

Early fall days can be like the hot flashes of a temperamental old person—crusty, cantankerous, and unpredictable. September hiccups from summer to autumn like a car whose gears are not properly engaged. One moment it is furnace hot with humidity dripping from the sky and the next I’m grabbing a winter coat.

It doesn’t help that my husband and I change venues. Mid-spring until late September usually has us ensconced in our Oregon lake cottage then we journey to Kentucky with an overloaded car and laughter. This year we left the west earlier than usual in order to watch grandkids while our son-in-law and daughter wandered through Kentucky hiking trails and relaxed.

Oregon sweltered on September 1st. We wound through the McKenzie Pass, a favorite drive, had our picnic lunch in Sisters, enjoyed ice cream, and gathered fabric bits for a quilt before heading toward Bend. It was a beautiful day of sunlight with a mild breeze.

Lightning struck the tinder-dry forests and set them ablaze as we ventured east. Smoke plumes in Wyoming darkened the skies with dirt-brown clouds. The terrifying fires colored our thoughts as we read the news of decimated small Oregon towns hugging the edges of the rivers and forests.

Fires burn throughout our land. Man-made fires that leave carnage in their wake seem to be all around. Where is my heart in this summer of unrest? Is it still and listening to reason’s voice of love?

Summer’s flight
Dogwood leaves rust
While days shorten
In the meager autumn sunlight.
Shed grace on our sorrows
As what we love
Becomes dust
In winds of change.