Monday, September 01, 2008

I'm Still Standing

For as long as I can remember, I’ve associated September 1st with new beginnings. When I was a child in Canada, we always went back to school on the Tuesday after Labour Day, so Labour Day itself was spent getting my new school bag ready with pens, pencils, Crayola pencil crayons and notebooks. I loved that task. There is something about the smell of fresh paper and new pencils that makes my heart soar. I still stand in the stationery aisle and covet the huge packages of Crayola crayons and pencil crayons, their myriad colours looking like a surreal rainbow on the shelves.

Of course, there is no Labour Day here in England, and it has been over twenty-five years since I have gone back to school on 2nd September. But I still get that sense of a fresh start on the first of September. It makes me want to deep clean the house, sort out my life, set goals and get moving forward. The crisp, cold autumn days I grew up with positively encourage that sort of behaviour, and even though the country I live in now tends more towards rain in the season I still secretly think of as “Fall”, I seek out coloured leaves, rejoice in the sunshine when it chooses to grace us with its presence and metaphysically sharpen my pencils ready for a new year.

I love the clothes we can wear in the autumn as well. Stacks of brightly coloured turtle neck sweaters appear in my wardrobe and smart wool blazers and furry “gilets” (which we used to call waistcoats or vests) make their way into my shopping bags. Fair skinned and prone to sunburn as I am, cooler weather suits me much of the time, and autumn provides that coolness without the icy blasts of winter. Unfortunately we get a lot of dampness with it here in England, but I try to ignore that! I thoroughly enjoy clearing out my wardrobe in preparation for the new season, finding things I’ve forgotten about hiding at the back, adding a few new pieces and clearing out the ones I’ve tired of.

This year, September means a lot to me because I really do need a new start. After the last difficult months, I’m ready for one. That said, I’m so much stronger for what we’ve been through, I feel an incredible sense of optimism. And as the clouds roll in again and block out the sunshine I was so enjoying on this autumn day, I’m not concerned. With apologies to Elton John, “I’m still standing” and I’m ready to take on the world.

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