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Seasonal Reflections:  September

What I find fascinating about the leaves dropping, and I’m sure I’ve commented on it before, is the different rates of change that different trees have.  I have one tree with curly branches and it lost all its leaves several weeks ago – and it does every year. I have other trees where hardly a leaf has fallen yet. The big onset or deluge of leaves is not here yet, but the early signs are.  For bonus feature, although it is not quite so obvious, I think very often the plants in the garden are starting to look a bit straggly and are mostly well past their best.


No, for all these reasons, summer is past and September is showing us all the early signs of the onset of Autumn. But I also said that I believe September is sneaky. I think I said something similar about February, but September is a master at it, while February is only a beginner. What do I mean? I mean that there is weather you expect for that time of year and then suddenly it does something different. In February you expect it to be cold but then every now and then you have a day that is right out of keeping with winter and it almost feels like Summer.


I don’t know what your expectation of September is but I have a wife who is a teacher and she moans that so often, as soon as they go back to school,  the weather gets better and makes her feel she wants to be on the beach. Well this year (2011) it hasn’t been like that; so often it has been grey or even raining. Yes, to confuse things there have been odd days of real sunshine but by and large they were not common. I had a photographic outdoor project on my mind but the limited numbers of days when it was bright have meant that that project has been shelved so far. But then suddenly, out of the blue, after weeks and weeks of watching the weather forecaster showing yet another Low coming in off the Atlantic, suddenly there is this High stuck there and he is talking of crazy high temperatures day after day, so much so that it is getting comment in the papers. Suddenly they are heralding an Indian Summer – a patch of what feels undoubtedly like Summer, but late.


So this year, no, it wasn’t good weather at the beginning of the month to upset pupils and teachers alike, it has been mostly cloud until now, when none of us was expecting it, just as we were bracing ourselves to see what October was going to bring, it is sunshine and high temperatures. Great! I’m not complaining, really!  I’m just noting what has happened. Which reminds me I need to go and put shorts on again; it’s too hot sitting here at a keyboard in trousers. Such are the vagaries of September.   Farewell oh month of changes and confusion.  What is October going to follow on with and do to us this year?


(And in 2012 - which only goes to show how different each year is. This year as my wife has gone back to school after a varied “Summer” the weather has turned to good and over the last four weeks it has been mostly sunshine. Yes, writing halfway through September the temperature has started dropping but when I look back on this past four weeks any rain we’ve had has been mostly at night and there hasn’t been a lot of it! And of course there have been sunsets..... )


THE SEASONS: September Reflections originally written in 2011
September: A Month of Signs and unexpectedness

Having been a seasonal watcher for some time now, I have been particularly aware of the changes taking place this month. September, it seems to me, having watched the days of this month pass (and I write at the end of it) has two particular features. First it appears more than any other month to herald the changing of a season and, second, it is a sneaky month!
Let’s take the seasonal change aspect first. I think it is particularly because I’m a person with a caravan that I notice that although the length of days has been slowly shortening since June, it is only as we hit September that you suddenly realise that it is happening in a big way. If you’re in a caravan you particularly notice when it’s no longer light outside. Yes, it’s going to be another month before the clocks go back, but all of a sudden we look out the window between seven and eight in the evening – and it’s dark! We didn’t particularly notice it when it cut back from ten to nine but somehow “early evening” darkening makes you realise autumn is really here.
There are four other features that I note which say that summer has gone. The first is the regularity with which the lawn is covered with dew in the morning and associated with that, is the lack of heat in the sun on most days to dry it out. The fact that the sun is lower in the sky means that areas of shade increase and so do not dry out, and those areas that catch the sun, still take longer to dry off.  A sub-feature is that generally temperatures start dropping. Being someone who received as a birthday present  an electronic thermometer that sits on a window sill in the kitchen, I am an avid temperature watcher. I also have a car that notes the outside temperature and without doubt, as soon as August is past the daily temperatures start dropping.
The third feature is the spiders. This is the time of year when spiders’ webs proliferate. It is difficult to walk about the garden without getting caught by one of these silky nets. Whether this means that spiders have to catch more food to stock up for Winter I don’t know but their webs are everywhere and sometimes their size or length makes human engineering look kids stuff.

The fourth feature is the obvious one, that any schoolchild would probably pick up and that is that the leaves start changing colour and dropping off the trees. It’s also a time for horse chestnuts and conkers.