It's August 23rd, which means just one thing: it's almost September. I'm wondering just where August went actually, because I think it was just July a week ago.
Ah, September is a strange month. Next to December, it's about the only month that is probably both a noun and a verb when you think about it. Yes, the other months just come and go, but stuff actually goes down in September. Yeah, December gets a lot of press because of Christmas, but I think day for day, no month beats September when it comes to the sheer gravity of change.
First, you have kids going back to school. In my case that would be just one going to high school, which actually starts next week. I have to other already in college. For many others, it's the ritual of uniforms and routines. I can still remember going back to school myself. It was only yesterday.
Second, you have Labor Day. In this neck of the woods that means just one thing: Food. Forget the actual thoughts and intent behind "labor day"; in Scranton it's all about eating quasi-warm pizza at the Italian Festival (that would be "EYE-talion" Festival for all my friends in Western Pennsylvania) while trying to weave through the massive crowds at courthouse square. The "La Festa" is kind of like St. Patrick's Day around here, without the beer, and the street fights, and the vomiting. Anyway, it's a good time. Trust me.
Third, every few years you get a really decent political season starting in September. This year will be one of those good ones, with a lack-luster Congressman (Paul Kanjorski) in the fight of his life against an opponent who never met a politically opportunistic sound byte pass him bye. The minute Lou Barletta invoked the name "Joe Paterno" I knew he was engaging in all-out political warfare. JoePa is the one thing around there that reaches across all political and ideological boundaries. In other parts of the area you have what amounts to a mob lawyer pointing ethical fingers at a Congressman who has missed votes because of his wife's cancer treatment. Yup, forget football: in NEPA politics is the chief contact sport.
As for me, well I'm not oblivious to the change in season either. I like warm weather, but I can do without the worst of the summer heat. I also love the Fall. I love the temperature when it's a nice 50 degrees or so. I love the smell of leaves on the ground. I love the sound of the wind blowing leaves across the path at Lake Scranton. I love getting the yard ready for winter.
It's as if September is really this big affirmation that despite our best efforts, the rhythm of life will not ever be denied.