Annoying, but hopefully it will be fixed soon. At least, I hope so - my html isn't that good, and I like having all my little doo-dads and effects handy.
But let's talk about happier things - September is one of my favourite months; Autumn, with the start of the school year, and the hope of cooler weather on the way, always seems to promise new and good things.
I'm not alone in this, I know - the way schools elevate students to the next grade in the Autumn has imposed the feeling of a "new" year on lots of us - more specific than Spring, or even the switch from December to January, because school is the dominant factor of our formative years. Spring is just a fuzzy point in the middle of the second semester, and Christmas only means the grade year is half over (though the presents are nice). No, it's September (okay, now the end of August for some of you) that is the step up to the next year of your life.
(This obviously does not apply to those schools that have a year-round curriculum. The pros and cons of those systems can be debated, but the loss of the summer vacation seems almost catastrophic to those of us who depended on those non-school months and their sweet, zombie-like levels of brain inactivity.)
My memories of childhood are (somewhat arbitrarily) divided by place and season - Summer and the depths of Winter are Bamburgh, Spring is my Grandmother's house in Hedenham Norfolk, and Autumn is London, school, and the smell of plane tree leaves in the rain. Autumn weekend memories are of chestnut picking in Richmond Park, and Sunday excursions to Cliveden and Polesden Lacey - both houses my Grandfather ran as part of his job for the National Trust.
(My father remembers living at Polesden Lacey during the War (WWII), and seeing room after room filled with national treasures, as Polesden was used as a repository for things removed from London museums for the duration of the war.)
But most of all, I remember the feel of school - gathering greenery from the garden for my school church's Harvest Festival, the smell of Michaelmas daisies and chrysanthemums, Guy Fawkes Day - and my birthday.
These memories remain strong, even though my primary and secondary school years were more than half a lifetime ago. The smell of burning leaves (now forbidden in London), picking crab apples off the tree in the back garden and making jelly, blackberries and rosehips in the hedgerows - and over it all, the smell of Autumn itself, a tangible smell, like biting into a dried apple. This has always been my time of year - Summer is too bright, Spring too unpredictable, Winter too dreary.
Those of you living on the East coast of the US get one of the best autumnal gifts of all - the trees here put on a show like nowhere else on earth. The arboreous firework show of Fall puts the most vivid painter's palette to shame. Every Autumn I feel profoundly lucky to live in this area.
I'm a redhead; Autumn is my time.
September is also a time to start fresh, to look forward to what the new school year will bring - no matter how old we are. Leave your excuses behind with the summer heat and humidity, and pull out your project list. Why not finally start that big project you've been dreaming about? No timeline for finishing, just a promise to start. An hour, half an hour, maybe just fifteen minutes a day - each fifteen minutes is that much closer to completion, that much closer to the finish. Before you know it, you'll be deep into your project, and then it will be done - and you'll have the rest of your life to wear/admire it. What could be better?