Okay, it’s Labor Day, and after last week’s whinin’ about the end of summer, I’ve decided to focus on the positive. September is one of the nicest months of the year here in Maine. It’s full of clear, sunny days free of humidity, followed by those crisp nights, just perfect for snoozing. All of a sudden, the tourists have transformed from exasperated parents with their cranky, little sunburned kids, to retired couples, kickin’ back and livin’ the dream. And you can actually get a parkin’ spot on Main Street!
Me, I always get that back-to-business shot of energy ingrained no doubt from years of school. Years of September representin’ new outfits, new notebooks and a new teacher and schedule. No more lazin’ around all day, playing with my friends.
Do you remember what that was like? I was reminded a couple weeks ago when I was out walkin’ Scamp one afternoon, and I see these two young girls up ahead ridin’ their bikes toward me, maybe nine or ten years old. They’ve got on pink helmets and are talkin’ a mile and minute and gigglin’, which makes me smile. Then all of a sudden, they stop, get off their bikes and kind of throw ‘em on the grass. One of the girls puts her hands on the ground, the other standin’ guard in case a car comes. What are they doin’, I’m thinking? Scamp and me slow down as we pass, both of us curious. That’s when I see that those little girls are protecting a caterpillar, one of those fuzzy ones, orange and black.
That picture just kind of stuck in my head, and every time I think of it, I remember what it was like to be one of those little girls. Not that we wore bike helmets back then, but what it was like to be concerned about the welfare of a lowly caterpillar. Like that was the most important thing in the world. Right up there with catchin’ fire flies in a jar. Or bringing home tadpoles, thinking I could keep ‘em alive long enough to watch them grow into frogs. Or starin’ in wonder at a spider’s web, instead of vacuuming it up without thinking about Charlotte and Wilbur, or how hard I cried when Charlotte died.
By now those little girls are trudgin’ back and forth to school, their backpacks so loaded down with stuff they look like turtles. And I’m thinkin’ about buyin’ some mums to replace my leggy petunias and the worn out geraniums on our deck. Soon I’ll be closin’ the windows at night and puttin’ on a sweater before taking Scamp out for his morning constitutional.
Still, as I walk by that spot where I saw those little girls took a stand, I remember what it was like growin’ up here in Mahoosuc Mills. I think of Charlotte and her web, and I feel “terrific,” “radiant,” “humble” and most of all, grateful.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
Coming up this fall:
September 14: Ida’s Book Club, featuring authors Patricia Lynch and Jacquelyn Benson, 7:00 p.m., WEST, Portsmouth, NH
October 3: Finding Your Inner Moose Book Reading, 1:00 p.m., Soldiers Memorial Library, Hiram, ME
October 10 & 11: The View From He’ah Variety Show, ACT ONE’s Beyond Festival, Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m., WEST, Portsmouth, NH
October 19: The Moose in Me, The Moose in You, 7:00 p.m., to benefit the Friends of the Bridgeton Public Library, Magic Lantern, Bridgton, ME
October 22: Finding Your Inner Moose Book Reading, 6:00 p.m., sponsored by Simpson Memorial Library, Golden Harvest Grange, Carmel, ME
November 7, 14 & 21: I Married an Alien, 7:30 p.m., Camp Calumet Women’s Retreat Weekend, West Ossipee, NH