Recently I learned of a holiday known in France as La Rentrée. It’s an acknowledgement of the re-entry back into routine or ordinary life after the looser, more improvised time of summer. Teachers and students recognize this moment when school begins again, but I believe all of us feel this as the autumn makes its presence known. The Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) usually occurs in September, as does the new year in the French Revolutionary Calendar (on Autumn Equinox).
At least in Seattle, where I live, there is a sort of relief that comes as the clouds come back and the rain begins to fall and I am no longer tempted outside by picnics and festivals, sunshine and Shakespeare in the Park.
The squirrels in my neighborhood are busy stashing nuts. And I feel the same urge: to get my dwelling in order, to get my files organized, to be able to hunker down for the winter with my books and projects. Office supply stores capitalize on this impulse by promoting back-to-school items. Publishers announce their fall lineup of books; libraries also experience a surge in checkouts. In France, this is prime time for rummage sales as everyone gets rid of items they no longer need.
Do you feel this opportunity for a new beginning in September? And if so, how do you acknowledge it? Leave a comment below.
Waverly Fitzgerald is a writer, teacher, and calendar priestess who has studied the lore of holidays and the secrets of time for decades. She shares her research and her thoughts on her Living in Season website and in her book, Slow Time. She is currently working on a series of essays about looking for nature in the city and blogs for the Seattle PI as the “Urban Naturalist.”
Now Available — Herb Gardens 2016 wall calendar featuring recipes and herbal folklore from Maggie Oster.