First, my apologies for the late post. I've been upstate, offline, and in traffic all day, which left me with plenty of time to look out the window at the increasingly despondent leaves and think about September.
I conclude that September is for pencils. With any luck, my days of education--at least the degree-bearing kind--are long over, but each September, I still buy pencils, and notecards, and sexy little notebooks, and even sharpeners. This year, in a mood of slight mania, I even bought an electronic labeler.
But my heart in fall belongs to pencils, because pencils are aspirational.
New Year's is for amateurs. Pros know that the onset of fall is the real time for renewal, when the slow lope of summer shifts into something more purposeful. And yet, fall. In January, I'm so full of myself (and mincemeats), shiny in last year's tinsel, making big plans. But come September, I've had nine months in which to know myself better. Rake all you want, says September. The leaves are still falling.
I admit it: I will not quit smoking this year. I will not return to the gym--in fact, I probably won't even get around to cancelling the membership I pay for every month. My "Miscellaneous" file, however neatly labelled, will still bulge with things that belong elsewhere. If I part with one book, I'll let in two more strays. Maxwell may spend his mornings decluttering and sprucing, but I'm of a different breed. Some days, it's all I can do to finish my second cup of coffee and the crossword.
So I need pencils, in their own way as hopeful as crocuses. Upright and humble, my pencils are the saints of half-measures, the mascots of revision. Give it a try, they whisper encouragingly. We come with erasers.
Photo credit: Shannon Holman