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what september means
a hodgepodge of savorables
by jael mchenry (@JaelMcHenry)

I don't have a favorite month, but if I did, September would definitely be in the running.

Why? Five reasons.

1. Back-to-school. Yes, it's been years since I've actually been personally involved in anything based on the semester system, but at the same time, the fact that school is starting gives a rhythm to the year. It's a time of newness and excitement. If you live in a town with a lot of college students, as I do, there's something contagious about the energy of all those teenagers, something you can feel in the city. Arrival, beginning, adventure. And what's cuter than all those little-kid first-day-of-school pictures on Facebook? Maybe it's because I always loved school, but they always, always put a big smile on my face.

2. Friends are in town again. The schedule of the summer means that whenever you try to get a group of friends together on a Friday or Saturday between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you're never going to find a weekend that works for everyone. They're off at weddings or on vacation or traveling for some reason or another. When September rolls around, we finally hunker down again, and seeing the people you like in the city where you live is a lot less stressful than traveling to see people elsewhere.

3. New television. Even though most of my television-watching these days is time-delayed already-on-DVD type stuff, and TV seasons are definitely not as locked-in as they used to be, I still like the anticipation of new shows. There aren't that many returning shows I'm excited about -- probably just "Modern Family" and "The Good Wife" -- but I love reading and finding out about what the new shows are. They might be genius, they might be lousy, but they're newly invented, and they could go anywhere. Will "Ringer" be a triumphant return to series television for Sarah Michelle Gellar, or this season's "Pasadena"? Is "Hart of Dixie" the new "Everwood", or a three-episode quick-to-die punchline? We don't know, and given how exhaustively existing shows have already been examined and written about and torn apart on the internet, it's energizing to know there's something out there we have no idea about. I guess I'm an eternal optimist. I'm always hoping the newest classic (sigh, "Friday Night Lights") is just around the corner.

4. My husband's birthday. Even more fun than my own in some ways. Also the anniversary of our engagement, so lots of reasons to celebrate.

5. Cool weather. Now, this particular summer has been a bit extreme in every sense of the word, but even in a summer without 115-degree heat or East Coast earthquakes or seriously scary hurricanes, September is the time when we turn from hothothot to cooler, without having to worry about coats and scarves and static electricity and screwing up our hair with hats. Some days are shorts days, some days are pants days, and I probably won't be standing in the subway with buckets of sweat pouring down between my shoulder blades the way I all-too-often am in June, July and August.

Obviously September has some less-than-wonderful aspects to it as well -- and I suppose back-to-school in particular is a polarizing time of year that others may face with dread instead of anticipation -- but I'm looking forward to the next few weeks. You?


Jael is tired of being stereotyped as just another novelist/poet/former English teacher/tour guide/"Jeopardy!" semifinalist/bellydancing editor-in-chief with an MFA who was once an overachieving oboe-playing alto newspaper editor valedictorian from Iowa. She was also captain of the football cheerleading squad. Follow me on Twitter: @jaelmchenry

more about jael mchenry


you can go home again
and sometimes i need to
by jael mchenry
topic: general
published: 1.3.03

pursuing the perfect bite
playing with your food, playing well with others
by jael mchenry
topic: general
published: 3.5.07


sandra thompson
9.6.11 @ 8:08a

"Autumn in New York" always meant September to me. It was my favourite month.

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