The Special Light of September


Dear Reader:

Isn’t there something quite special about September? In our family… birthdays reign throughout the month…but that isn’t the reason.

I have never quite been able to explain the different feel to this month before I read an article titled “Ode to September” and in one paragraph the author solved the mystery. It is the ‘lights of September.’

(So I began walking around my yard late yesterday afternoon and saw what the author was describing…a completely different sensation belongs to September…almost a type of longing for a time long ago when we first realized -when we were young- that there is something quite special about this month.)


Article “Ode to September” (excerpts-www/

I know others feel something different about September as well, yet they are really as lost as I am to explain what it is. A crispness in the air? What does that mean? I’ve been snowed on in July and frosted in August, yet these didn’t feel like September. What then, makes September different?

I think that sunlight is ultimately responsible. The Earth’s slingshot ride around the sun positions our hemisphere where the sunlight of September strikes obliquely, not with the overhead pounding of the summer sun. It may be this angle of the sun that makes September feel unique, caresses the leaves to sleep and incites the elk to riot. We literally see the world in a different, sweeter light, making it seem new and especially alive.       

I’ve said it before. I would gladly trade March for a second chance at September.  I don’t think I would tire of it and I might just have barely enough time to do many of the things that I want to do. Mostly though, I want to bathe in September’s rich light a little longer.



In the following poem (“September”) John Updike uses all the human senses to describe this memorable month.

“The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

–   John Updike, September

I think the smell of burning leaves is one of the most poignant smells of fall…don’t you? As much as I love the smell…it always makes me a little homesick…but for what…I am not sure. Perhaps memories of high school bonfires before Homecoming or Halloween cook-outs with roasted hot dogs and smores galore.

I, think I too, would be willing to trade another month for two months of September with all her mysterious sights, sounds, and smells. September is a laid-back month with the battle of the seasons ending with fall the victor and summer the vanquished.

This seasonal battle for dominance reminds me of my “Zebra” cone that I like to get at the Tastee-Freeze. It is a swirl of chocolate and vanilla…and the winning flavor left standing until the last “lick”  depends on the preference of the taster.

As for me…give me September over summer any time!

So until tomorrow… let’s follow September with memories of our youth and then promise to make this September so special it will be  another one to remember.

Josh Groban – Try To Remember – YouTube

“Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh so mellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain so yellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a young and a callow fellow
Try to remember and if you remember
Then follow–follow, oh-oh.”
–  Try to Remember, Lyrics by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*For me the ‘light of September’ began the day before (yesterday) with a visit from Gin-g…it made me so happy…she brought beautiful flowers and two pieces of chocolate cake that we consumed like cast-aways on a deserted island.

(Thanks sister Susie for baking this…the best chocolate cake I ever put in my mouth!)


It is September 1 -the first day of the month…so I decorated Ms. Rabbit up in birthday attire…since in our family we have Mandy starting off the month on the 3rd, Jakie and I on the 24th…and John rounding out the month on the 30th.


I also have good friends like Jerry and Sherri Houston…who have September birthdays too…Jerry’s is today (Happy Birthday Jerry!) and Sherri’s is the 30th…the beginning and the ending…pretty cool.

And to all the other September birthday “babies” ….don’t we have the best month of all? Say “Rabbit” and have a marvelous month!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to The Special Light of September

  1. Jo Dufford says:

    You are so right about the feel of Sept. Not only the lights, but the fall colors seem to arouse wonderful memories. I remember: being allowed to jump into a pile of leaves that had just been raked (takes a patient person to allow that, but that was my Mother), parties with bonfires and melting marsh mellows until they were black, the crisp air on my face (that may come later this month), crops getting right to harvest and many being harvested, new school clothes which we wore no matter how hot the first day of school was, and of course, football (when I was in high school we had 7-man football teams because the schools were so small, but it didn’t matter the excitement was still there, and the upside to that was everyone who wished to play had the opportunity.) Thanks for your blog today which has started my day with such great feelings as you brought back wonderful, peaceful, happy memories, and by calling Colby and saying, “rabbit”.

  2. Gin-g Edwards says:

    It was so good to spend time with you yesterday . It was way overdue. I love fall and the song you mentioned today was played at my senior homecoming as we rode around the field…will never forget the words or the tune. This will be the first September that I have not celebrated my sweet Mother’s bday on the 4th…but what fun she is having in Glory.

  3. Becky Dingle says:

    I will pray for her on the fourth with a special happy birthday. Loved seeing you so much!

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