September splendor holds promise

red autumn leaves

“The year is getting to feel rich, for his golden fruits are ripening fast, and he has a large balance in the barns, which are his banks. The members of his family have found out that he is well to do in the world. September is dressing herself in a show of dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception.” 

— Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. author and physician 

I ran across this column from September 2006 this past week, and it brought so many mixed emotions. This was the year we purchased this farm but hadn’t yet moved here, and I would bring the kids and dogs here while we worked on projects. 

Reading this old column was like opening a beloved photo album. The things, people, dogs that have gone, but are still held dear, were brought to life again for a moment, stirring such bittersweet memories. What follows is my September 2006 column. 

While it is true that every day is filled with blessings, there is something about September that leads me to believe that there are more blessings in every single day of this certain month than we can count on our two hands. Even if we are blessed with old age, there are only so many Septembers in a given life. Each day of September splendor should be enjoyed to the highest. 

Yesterday, with the breeze blowing in from the north, I took my dogs for a walk around this new-to-us farm, stopping in the lovely, old barn to check water troughs. The abundance of butterflies captivated Channing, our English Shepherd pup, while the tiny, 2-pound Yorkie, Chantico, was enchanted by the ponies circling in the northern pasture. 

She felt the need to bark at them a few times, just to let them know who’s boss. Spanky, our happy, all-white Pekingese, decided he simply had to go visit the beef cattle and came back to join us for the rest of our walk looking more like a brown mutt. 

The slant of light hits us differently than just a month ago, with autumn being ushered in. The Westies, ever eager to please, stayed near, pretending that I am their sole fascination, until a swallow swoops low, that is. Certain things cannot be ignored by a terrier! 

I watched as a squirrel seemed to play some sort of game with a friendly gray barn cat we have named Shadow, both scurrying from one tree to another, the squirrel practically taking flight in order to dash the cat’s hope of ever catching up. Shadow decided to go check out the pond, hoping for a slower foe to chase there. 

This place holds all sorts of little surprises, including the Amish children who smile and wave to me as they walk home from school at the end of the day, their bare feet kicking up freshly-mown grass. They are in no hurry as they enjoy whatever the walk home brings to their attention. 

The dead of summer doesn’t hold as much fascination for me as it used to. September is filled with a mellow, quiet promise of all sorts of possibilities, and the perfect weather in which to take it all in. This farm, I am learning, is the perfect setting to live a happy life.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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