A Bittersweet Greek September

September 8.5x11 by KelseyGarrityRiley
September  by Kelsey Garrity Riley

   September, a melancholy month, a month of endings and new beginnings.

My "New Year" begins with September not January, this is the time of summer drawing to a close, the return of blankets to the beds, the closing of windows in the evenings, going indoors before midnight and the rummaging about to find woolly jumpers.

A time of mixed feelings, sad that the lazy days of summer are coming to an end but happy with the realisation that means quieter beaches, less traffic, more parking spaces.

Sad to see my Daughter returning to Athens after having her with me most of the summer but happy that my house will be much tidier, my job of searching out mislaid items over!

Sad when I have made my last visit to the beach for the year (this varies depending on the weather, last year it was at the end of November!) but happy that these visits will be replaced with daily walks into the town with my sweet Granddaughter Melina.

In winter, one dreams of swimming in the sea
In winter, one dreams of swimming in the sea

When my children were younger this feeling of melancholy was more intense, the re-opening of the schools brought an abrupt end to our daily frolickings
 on the beach, our evening strolls along the promenade, the dropping in at the souvlaki shop before heading  home to spend a couple of hours in the garden.

They had homework, they had to be in bed early!

I never had the "oh thank goodness the children are back at school" feeling, we had the best times all together in the summer.

I remember driving home with them, after our last day on the beach before school started, I looked out to sea and I just wanted to cry, I don't think a single day passed all summer without us gathering up buckets and spades, towels, sun-cream and bottles of water, before setting off for our sea adventures.

Sally Swatland A Day at the Beach Nantucket
Sally Swatland A Day at the Beach Nantucket

As the days cool down I leave the beach behind until next year, throw on a jumper and go for interesting walks.

 Interesting because of what  catches my attention along the way, now the pomegranates are ripening, I have watched them through the summer change from tiny green hard balls into the plump ochre, tough-skinned fruit, filled with their jewel-like juicy seeds that MGG (My Greek God) brings home.

 I try my best to eat them in the fast, easy, clean way he does but I always end up in such a mess!


Purple-green figs, bursting open on their branches, the figs on the tree in our garden seem to have ripened early this year, what an itch they cause when picking them.

We have named this "the fig itch"!

Figs Photo by Bognarreni
Photo by Bognarreni 

I notice how the sea changes, calm, balmy one day, choppy with "sea horses" the next.
The colour varies from brilliant blue to dull grey but always magical.

Unsettled seas
Unsettled seas

The grape harvesting begins, a big thing here as our area is well known for its grapes and wine, the markets are over-flowing with large juicy purple grapes (full of pips!), pink-green ones and the small, green, sweet, seedless...my favourite.

Caravaggio, Self-portrait as " Bacchus"- Dionysos (1593).
Caravaggio, Self-portrait as " Bacchus"- Dionysos (1593).

Of my Septembers in England, I remember the misty mornings, rose hips, crab apples, harvest festival, that sinking feeling when thinking of school looming on the horizon and the replacing of my school hat which I always  managed to lose each year, it was a monstrosity, looked like a pork pie, if a prefect caught you not wearing it...instant detention!

My most poignant memory was blackberry-picking with my Grandmother, the scratched arms, purple fingers, just noticing a squirmy little white maggot at the last minute before popping one into your mouth!

Blackberry jam for months afterwards, the perfect blackberry milk jellies...how did she do that?

 My attempts are miserable, always curdled!

Blackberry Picking James Clarke Hoof
Blackberry Picking James Clarke Hoof

Is September an unlucky month?

 The beginning of WWII, the eleventh of September 2001.

POEM by Auden,written in 1939 can still be applied to appalling things happening in the world today.

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