Already, the last Saturday in September. There is a purposeful intensity to the sun – it hangs low in a purely blue sky and penetrates the long sleeves of my t-shirt with heat. I’m still here, it tells me, burning through the cotton shirt, don’t count me out yet.
Oh don’t worry, sun, I will not ignore you. I step out onto the deck, intending to to sweep it clear of grass clippings and the first flurry of golden poplar leaves that have started raining down on it. Instead, I just open the gate and let the dogs scamper down into the yard. They each find their own patch of sunlight and lay right down in it, looking up at me with grateful eyes for the opportunity to replenish their own stores of solar energy. I am supposed to keep them on a leash , but this is a rule I break all the time. My dogs always stay close to me, and as long as I keep a sharp lookout for squirrels that might entice them, I know they will behave admirably.
So I sit on the step and lean back against the railing. There is no human noise today, and I love that. Birds are constantly chattering here because so many of us have feeders, and there is just enough breeze to rustle the dry leaves. But no lawnmowers, no cars, not even any dogs barking. Hard to believe there are 320 homes in such close proximity.
It’s 3:00 and I’m tired. Every afternoon about 3:00, my energy gives out. The pattern of my days is such that I’m usually finishing up errands or work about 3:00, often driving back from my mother’s house after taking her shopping or picking up the dogs. I think I’ve always gotten tired about 3:00 – maybe after all those years of being on school schedule, my body is used to the end-of-school-day let down. Until recently, I would just power through…continue on with whatever was next on the schedule, push myself to keep going, keep doing.
But last week I decided to stop doing that, stop pushing myself farther than my body wants me to go. When 3:00 comes and I am tired, I will rest. I will find the nearest bench and sit on it for a while. If I’m home, I will take off my shoes and curl up on the corner of the couch, pull a soft blanket around my shoulder, and read. I will treat my tired 3:00 body with tenderness and care. I will pour it some water, make it some tea, listen to it’s creaks and groans and let it be still for just a little while.
And on days like this beautiful last Saturday of September, I will sit on my porch and lean my shoulder against the rough railing of the deck. I will let the sun splash across my face, I will breathe in the dusty smell of drying leaves. I will not look at nor give a thought to Twitter feeds or Facebook posts. I won’t even bury my nose in the pages of whatever book is usually in my hands.
Because September Saturdays don’t last forever, and neither will I. It’s alright for me now, in the September of my own life, to just be still sometimes. To be quiet. There is no need for me to always Do Something, even if it’s something pleasurable. Sometimes the gift is not in Doing but in Being.
And so here I Be.