“Try to remember the kind of September

When life was slow and oh, so mellow.

Try to remember the kind of September

When grass was green and grain was yellow.”

Perhaps like you that song from the Fantasticks runs through my mind occasionally, and with September upon us, it plays more frequently.  The song was recorded by several artists, but it is the rendition by the Brothers Four that I remember most fondly.

When we turn the calendar to September it often startles us to know that another school year has begun.  Then there are the Friday night football games played in the cool evening of September with the smell and feel of fall hanging heavy in the air.  But if we take the time to look around, the natural world has been telling us that September (and fall) are upon us.

Yellow goldenrods are in full bloom, as are the lavender flowered asters.  Migrating sandhill cranes and geese can be heard above.  And of course the days are getting shorter and the evening cool.

For many of the outdoor types among us, it is the time of the year when thoughts turn from fishing to hunting.  September first marks the opening of dove season while grouse and partridge season opens around mid-month.  Toward the end of the month some waterfowl seasons will also open.  .

And of course children of all ages will be awaiting a visit from Jack Frost.  They will be patiently waiting for him to splash his pallet of red, yellow, and brown on the leaves for a final blaze of autumn glory before winter sets in.  Jack of course is responsible for several other signs of autumn as well.  He can be traced back to Norse and Anglo-Saxon cultures, and is even the subject of a chapter in the Kalevala, the epic poem of Finland.  I suspect a few of you can recite this children’s song about Jack Frost from some long forgotten poet:

“Jack Frost is painting the leaves

He’s painting them all over town

He’s painting them red

He’s painting them yellow

And even painting them brown”

So as you try to remember those kinds of Septembers, make a point of enjoying the present September.  There is much to see and do outdoors in September but we need to act quickly.  As quickly as you can say Jack Frost, Old Man Winter could take center stage.


Chuck Lura

Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.


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