Sweet September on the Beach Coast
By Wade Rouse
Surprisingly, September is my favorite month on The Beach Coast.
In fact, if September were a kid, it would most definitely be classified as a “tween.”
That’s because September is not quite summer and yet it’s not quite fall.
It’s neither early frost nor Indian summer.
It’s not snow-drenched, holiday-lit splendor or even spring in bloom.
September is that little slice of perfection, that brief respite in the calendar year – and in my life – that just is.
And what it is is a romantic respite, a beautiful break between seasons, a time when the air heaves a big sigh – that rotates from warm wind to cool night breeze – and that urges you to do the same.
If you will only listen and follow suit.
I consider September to be the great supporting actor in our calendar – the Stanley Tucci or Jane Lynch, if you will: always stunning, always turning in great performances, but seldom recognized and continually overlooked by showier months.
That’s because September is the time everyone is back to routine, once again in the daily grind, the time kids are fully ensconced in school and adults are back to work, often toiling – after Labor Day ends – without another break in sight until Thanksgiving.
Along The Beach Coast, the resorters are back in the city, and a jarring quiet takes over many resort towns.
That September routine used to define my life.
But, now, September is the time I come out to play.
After years of toiling in the traditional work world, and now after years of being a fulltime writer, I have discovered the beauty of a flexible schedule, the sweetness of September. Though I work harder and longer hours than I ever have in my life, I can now leave my writing studio in our carriage house and walk through our woods at lunchtime, or go for a run along the beach instead of heading to a corporate break room, cafeteria or Starbuck’s for my brief breather or caffeine injection.
As a result, I have re-discovered September as an adult, the way one rediscovers a great book read in high school but never fully appreciated.
Along The Beach Coast, the September weather is still warm, the lake water enjoyable, and yet the beaches are sparsely populated. I can often run for miles along the sandy shore without ever seeing another soul, the only noises coming from the waves, the whisper of the aspen’s leaves, the hissing of sand underneath my feet.
There is no wait in the restaurants or coffee shops, and I can shop without being bumped.
I smile as I watch the first sugar maples in our woods begin to turn, their leaves tinged in gold, and red, and orange, while others still shimmer in their summer green.
I smile when I can spend the day in shorts but need a light blanket to sleep.
I smile when I inhale, the warmth mixing with the coolness, the smell of summer melding with that of autumn.
I smile because I can still grill, yet Gary can bake an apple pie.
I smile a lot in September.
And I bet – if you can catch a weekend along The Beach Coast after Labor Day ends to walk the beach, hit a resort town, pick apples, stroll unhurried through the shops – that you will, too.
So while September may signal a return to routine, to hectic activity, I urge you to think of September as a sigh.
And, as it exhales, follow suit.
As my friends’ kids – all tweens – might say: September is “suh-weet”!
And as their parents will realize all too soon about their kids, it’s a time in life – much like September – that goes too quickly, so enjoy it while you can.
Wade Rouse is the author of three critically-acclaimed memoirs, including "America’s Boy" (a Borders Best Book/Literary Memoir of the Year), "Confessions of A Prep School Mommy Handler" (a Target “Breakout” Bestseller), and his latest, the best-selling "At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life," which was chosen as "Must Read" by NBC’s Today Show, USA Today, the Detroit Free Press, Grand Rapids Press, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Public Radio, Michigan Public Radio, and many more. The paperback edition of "At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream," which chronicles the misadventures of two neurotic urbanites who quit their jobs, and leave the city, cable, couture and consumerism behind in order to move to the woods along the Michigan Beach Coast and recreate a modern-day Walden, was published June 1st.
For more, visit www.waderouse.com