Kage Baker wasn’t fond of the month of September. At least, not the beginning of it; the beginning of September is the end of summer – practically, if not by the calendar – and she hated that. The advent of Labor Day depressed her, with the inevitability of school looming beyond it. She even disliked the crepe myrtle trees, because they always start blooming around then and their exuberance meant her holidays were almost over.
When she grew up, of course, the summer liberties were in hiatus for many years. But summer was still the season of freedom, and how she hated anything that encroached on that! September would always see her grouching about for a week or two, resentful. I’m mumping, she would growl. I’m mourning the sun.
It’s 98 degrees out there! I might protest.
Yeah, but not for long … and she would glare at the turning leaves and autumn flowers.
In summer, though there was no 3-month vacation, there were Faire weekends. In fact, the 3-day Labor Day weekend usually fell near the end of the Northern Faire, and so it was laced with a faint bitterness as well. The leaves turned, which was glorious – but then they fell off, which was not. The weather got weird – the usual California pattern is enormous smothering heat followed at once by cold and frost somewhere between Labor Day and Halloween – Kage resented losing the warm weather. Apples got gloriously profuse and diverse, but the plums vanished utterly. Pumpkins appeared between the sad runners of the last blackberries.
But by the time October was heaving on the horizon, showing the bold black and white bones on its flag, Kage was ready for the darker seasons. Halloween was coming! Thanksgiving! Christmas! The season of nights, whose purpose (as far as she was concerned) was to be made loud, fragrant and bright with coloured lights.
It was the pivot of September that was hard. It was like a swinging door that hits one in the face. She rather looked down on effete afflictions like Seasonal Affective Disorder and other such megrims and swoonings; but that first step into autumn was always a long one for her. It took her a while to adjust, to get her happy face on for the long string of winter festivals – though once she did, Kage was a dedicated party girl.
It’s all the stranger, to me, that she should have felt this way, because Kage was almost certainly conceived in September. It was probably on one of those hot late summer nights when the sky over the Hollywood Hills glows with its own fevered light. Momma’s house had French doors on every floor and must have glowed like a wedding cake on such a night – a bright lure to the passing soul needing embodiment.
Or maybe, even then, Kage resented the curtailment of her summer freedom; maybe the great white glowing walls on the hillcrest were a dazzle and a distraction to her. Maybe she didn’t want to be harvested that September, laid away for a new life the following June … it would have been just like her, to remember it always afterwards and resent poor September for its role in the affair.
Good thing it runs straight on into Halloween. If not, Kage might never have consented to be born …