Another turned page

Even for those who aren't in school, fall is full of promise.  York County, Virginia, November 2008

Even for those who aren’t in school, fall is full of promise.
York County, Virginia, November 2008

“…that old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air … Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.”Wallace Stegner

Though it has been many years since I last went to school, or even had children who did, I still feel the excitement in September.  Something about the cooling autumn air carries with it the sense of new beginnings, people to meet and things to learn; the chance, as Stegner so vividly describes, to start over with a clean slate.

Many of you are teachers, students or both; others have children or grandchildren starting a new school year.  But even those of us who don’t fit into any of those categories can get into the spirit of anticipation, as we bid the last of the summer weather farewell and settle in for the bustle of upcoming holidays and cozy evenings filled with friends, books and a mug of hot tea, coffee or cocoa.

May you have a lovely day, filled with the best of “that old September feeling.”

One year ago today:

In the fall


  1. rayanard

    Julia, for me it’s getting winter stuff out of storage and( finally putting summer stuff away). I just brought some oatmeal with” herbal tea and soup around the corner. I’m also looking on Pinerest for new fall and winter recepies. I better put my winter coat in the cleaners really soon and get my van winterized.Be blessed

    • Raynard, YUM! Hearing about soup and tea and oatmeal makes the coming of winter seem not so gloomy. I would say it seems a bit early to be thinking of such things, but there has ALREADY been snow in Boomdeeville! WOW! And you are bound to get cold weather before we do. Meanwhile we had another hot day here yesterday, but hopefully it will be cooler today. Hope you have a great weekend!

  2. Ann

    Buying school supplies in September was an exciting event, way ‘back in the day’.

    • Ann, I still love to buy a few school supplies for myself, even though I’m not in school. I got some glue sticks (two for ten cents at Walmart yesterday!) and some colorful sharpies, as well as a few pens I don’t really need, but they were practically giving them away at Staples. When I was little I used to love getting new pencils and crayons. When my sons were in elementary school I was amazed at how much more we had to buy for their school year than we used to have when I was young.

  3. Julia, I know our weather is about to change to the cooler temps that will be the perfect accompaniment to such a timely post. I enjoyed reading your blog “In the fall” as we reminisced about school days and fall one year ago. I really hope and pray that Jeff is feeling better and going into a good weekend. 🙂

    • Thank you Sheila, I worry about Jeff because he is such a “tough guy” that he refuses to complain unless things are really bad. I hope that he will rest this weekend and maybe enjoy watching some baseball. I got him a subscription to MLB TV awhile back (which lets you stream any game you want except for the local teams, which for us means the Nationals and Orioles) so he can watch the Braves to his heart’s content, as well as any other baseball team. He likes to follow them all at this time of year. He is a hard person to buy anything for because he wants so little and lives so simply. So I am happy that he seems to be enjoying this new “toy” and I hope he will find other reasons to be happy this weekend. I appreciate your caring about him – please keep those prayers coming. Sometimes I think I’m the only person in the world who really understands how brave and strong he has been, not just in the past two years, but for all his life. Happy weekend to you and yours! ❤

  4. Happy Fall Wishes to you and yours J. I think it might be my favourite time of year here in Edmonton. Your photo is gorgeous and so full of colour. The leaves are turning gold on some trees here and falling into puddles. I’ve just bought some Alum Bulbs to plant for next year so that will be a fun way to usher in Spring along with our trip. We actually had snow in Alberta this week. Edmonton got away with flakes falling but melting as they hit the ground. Calgary on the other hand got walloped big, big time. 15cm of heavy wet snow fell one day and knocked down trees and power lines. Some people are still without power there. They bare the brunt of weather dilemma’s due to their proximity to the Rockies. It’s very early for all this nonsense and yesterday was a balmy and sunny 22C. So fall can be a roller coaster of silly weather. I read your message to Sheila above and have been thinking about both Jeff and Matt as we plan our visit together. Sending extra love. K

    • Hi K, Jeff came into the kitchen the other night and announced “It’s snowing in Alberta!” (He knows you live there so he always thinks of you when he hears the weather report if you guys make the news. 😀 ) Matt and Jeff love watching the Weather Channel, I think it’s cute that Matt has gotten so interested in weather lately. Not so cute is to get snow this early. Perhaps it’s just a tiny preview to make you enjoy what’s left of the fall. I hope so! Thanks for your kind thoughts. We will try for a restful weekend.

      • I’m a bit of a weather hound too. Matt and I can talk turkey next spring. The science of tornados and hurricanes always fascinate me or even why we get snow in September :/

        • Just think, in our fantasy life we could be storm chasers! Though I’d never want to do it in real life. I don’t think too much about the weather, but as with most topics, when I do stop and think about it, I am fascinated. Such an interesting world we live in.

  5. Carolyn

    We had so much rain yesterday, which was needed, but happy that it stopped when it did. Our porch might need to be washed but not by rain water. Today it is very cool and I think I need to make a cup of tea and enjoy the nice day. Wish you could join me. Love our visit with you all. How did Jeff do with his chemo treatment? Have a good week-end and love to all.

    • Hi Carolyn, I wish I could have been there with you for that cup of tea, too! Jeff felt pretty bad all week after the chemo. He keeps saying he doesn’t know how much longer he can keep taking it. The re-scanning will start next week and hopefully they will offer some other options after that. We’ll keep you posted. He is taking it easy this weekend, which is good. Love to you and Terry.

  6. I love Autumn. One of the best seasons of the year for comfortable temps and abounding in color and beauty, as most foliage begins the long winter’s sleep.
    A most favorite song comes to mind: “Autumn Leaves.” Best performed by Nat King Cole-“The falling leaves drift by my window
    The falling leaves of red and gold…”

    • Alan, isn’t autumn wonderful? I love the song you mention, but I can’t hear it without thinking of the incomparable Victor Borge, a favorite of Matt’s whom we were privileged to see in person less than two years before he died at 91. Even when he was almost 90 years old, his playing was unbelievable and his comic timing was flawless. Here is a clip of Borge’s unforgettable staging of that song, in case you have never seen it — if not, you are in for a treat! If you’re in a hurry to get to the actual singing and subsequent surprises, just fast forward about two minutes into the clip. Still makes me laugh every time I see it!

  7. Happy September, Julia. I love this time of year, the shades of fall in the air (even though it was in the nineties today). It’s a smell, the sleepy garden, the change in the angle of light. I love it all.

    • Alys, you’re right about autumn having a smell, and it’s most obvious in the garden. We’ve had a hot week this week too, but it turned off cooler today, with misty rain. I do love this time of year. It makes me think of cooking, crafts, holiday cheer and visits with loved ones coming up. Also the excitement of fall colors on the way. I hope you will be able to get to Napa or Sonoma to see the vineyards in their full glory. I used to love how they look in the fall.

      • That’s a good list, Julia. And I agree with all of it.

        Sadly, Napa experienced a damaging earthquake a few years back. Virtually all of the wineries and many stores and buildings were damaged. I know it will be hard for tourism. They’re now eligible for federal aid, but I’ve heard that can be slow going and completely inadequate. Very sad.

        • Oh, no! That really is sad. Anything via the federal government is usually very slow. I appreciate that they must use care and diligence to distribute increasingly inadequate resources, but it can be very difficult to wait for help when one is in a bad position. I think some of these lovely little places have a hard enough time making ends meet in the “off season” and now it will be even harder. The very thing that makes the wine country so special — its feeling of being a world unto itself, far from the city — can also work against it since many people never make the time to go there. It’s so gorgeous, though; hopefully the natural beauty will be in their favor.

          • I hope so too. The community has rallied together which is nice to see and I know some will have had insurance. Still, time, energy, deductibles, lost business. It’s all a slog.

            Makes me nervous, too, for what they’re always predicting for the Bay Area.

            I’m so excited to finally be meeting you early next year. We’ll never stop talking!

            • Alys, we will definitely have to schedule lots of time for chatter. You and K will have to watch me closely as I can’t talk and drive very well at the same time. I won’t be unsafe, but I might take a wrong turn! 😀

              • Another thing we have in common: I can’t drive and focus on conversation either.

                • Well, THAT’S a relief! I sometimes wondered if I was the only one. 🙂 Once, driving home from Muir Woods with my sister, we were chatting nonstop and I took the 101 in the wrong direction and didn’t even realize it until I got close to the GG bridge. Pretty pathetic!

                  • Yep…I’ve done that too. I’m helpless with north and south. I need tangibles like ‘turn right at the 7-11 and then go two blocks before making a left at the school. Hopeless!

                    • If I’ve got a good map and lots of time, I’m OK. But I can’t be talking or all bets are off!

  8. Michael

    84 degrees today in Seattle. Best summer weather since 1963. People are complaining now about the heat. Too much of a good thing.

    • WOW, that’s pretty much a heat wave in Seattle, isn’t it? Sounds wonderful to me. But some people are never happy. I guess it’s partly because no one is accustomed to those temperatures out there. It’s like when Jeff and I went to the Bahamas from Ohio one year in February or March, and it was unusually cool there (meaning in the low 60’s) and the locals were all bundled up. We actually saw someone at the straw market wearing a ski mask! But for us it felt balmy and nice. So much of it is what you get used to.

  9. Michael

    Likewise in Hawaii locals put sweaters on if it ever dipped into the 60,s,which was a rare occurrence. I actually got my bike out of the garage yesterday.

    • Yes, I remember when we first moved to Hawaii, I asked a local person whether it got cold at Christmas time. “Yes,” she said, “You will be able to wear long sleeves!” Have fun on the bike!

  10. Michael

    I STILL have a couple of late tomatoes coming in and one lone green pepper.
    A comment I heard yesterday on interview with James—?- British author- on optimism versus pessimism.
    He said,” both over optimism and pessimism lead to inaction with an attitude of why bother -I don’t have to do anything. So it is better to be somewhere toward the middle as then you realize your own actions can change-make- plan your destiny.”
    Interesting idea. Too much optimism might be a problem and lead to passivity.
    If Jeff is into baseball- I guess the Mariners still have a shot at a wildcard berth.

    • Michael, that guy’s ideas are interesting, but they don’t agree with my ideas on optimism. I think he is confusing optimism with wishful thinking or denial, and pessimism with head-in-the-sand paralysis. In my experience, both optimism and pessimism are usually incentives to act. Optimism says “there must be a way to make this better, and I will find it” or “I refuse to wallow in my sorrow when I could be doing more beneficial things.” Pessimism says “bad times are coming, I’d better prepare” or “I need to watch my weight and exercise or I might get some dreaded disease.”

  11. Michael

    Today is Jen’s due date for baby girl two-Josephine- in Atlanta. So keep her in your prayers. Verie is flying out today.
    Interesting perspectives. To me when I am pessimistic I say well what difference does it make If I do anything-might as well wallow a while.

    • Michael, congrats on the new grandchild – I just said a quick prayer for Jen and will pray for her and baby Josephine again. I suppose there are many different ways to be pessimistic or optimistic. Coming from and living around a lot of anxious types, I guess I’m more accustomed to the caution that seems to go with seeing potential problems ahead, some of which never materialize.

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