September by Liz DoucetteAudio version <a href="http://ripr.org/post/i-believe-september"target="_blank">www.ripr.org</a>“September is the best month in Newport.” Many who live here agree.That’s not to say we don’t love July and August — summer!! — in all its crowded, event-filled glory. Of course we love summer. And we love our visitors, each and every one, traffic included. Okay, I’m exaggerating (and I can’t speak for anyone but myself). Let’s just say Newport relies on summer. Newport works hard in summer. Busy is good.Then, ahhhh, September. It’s still summer, weather-wise. The water is warm for swimming. It’s clear and breezy for sailing. Fish are biting. I might even find a parking space.Doesn’t everyone, everywhere, love September? Except perhaps the kids heading back to school? Something ends, but something else begins. Don’t we all, at every age, regard September as time to get back to … something? This year, my husband and I sent our younger child to college. We’ve just joined that very lonely-sounding demographic: Empty Nesters. But it’s not so empty. Sure, we miss the kids, but they’re doing fine — thank goodness — and there are definite upsides. We’re managing two schedules, not four; so there’s more time to do what we want.
More time means more bike rides. And September afternoons, whose warm orange light lingers ‘til 7pm, are ideal. My husband and I go in different directions, as we go at different paces, then meet back home for dinner. Around Ocean Drive is my usual route: bumpy in spots, but less traffic in September.
So, one afternoon verging on evening a few weeks back, I rode my bike out that way, and when I got to Brenton Point, it was just so darn beautiful that I stopped, parked my bike, wandered out onto the stone jetty, and watched: water, a few boats, imminent sunset.As I turned to go, a couple approached over the rocks, slippery in spots. And I heard myself say, like the mother I���ll always be: “Be careful.” Glancing back as I hopped on my bike — to make sure they were safe, I suppose — I saw that each of them was scattering a gray cloud of ashes into the rolling waves, one on either side of the jetty. In tears suddenly, I pedaled on.I believe in September, with all its beginnings and endings. Beautiful but sad. Clear air and clarity. I often make resolutions in September, as if it were the New Year. It is the New Year, in many respects. This year I will … what will I do??I realize, of course, that September lies behind us, and it’s October now. October’s a great month, too. Newport’s great straight through Christmas. But in January, that other New Year? Plenty of parking spaces.