A breeze barely enough to lift leaves on the liquid amber—this September began warm with increasing temperatures to come. Unlike Septembers of my youth, shopping the pages of Sears & Roebuck and JC Penney for back-to-school clothes. Talley-Ho sweaters with covered buttons and wool skirts paired with knee socks and penny loafers, blouses with white collars for wearing under V-necks and dimes—not pennies—in my penny loafers.
September has a special feel, a returning to school, fall feel, even though “fall” as I knew it, exists now only in my memory.
Pressing leaves in my Webster’s dictionary,
Fire red maple
Burnt orange sassafras,
Leaves that would maintain the color for decades, growing more fragile as the chlorophyll drained and dried.
Each one a surprise
Years later as I turn to a page,
Bringing me back to my Virginia woods
Twirling my prizes between my fingers,
Inhaling summer fading to autumn smells
Brilliant yellow branches rustling against a backdrop