Tuesday, September 10, 2013


September makes me restless, a bit anxious. The days are noticeably shorter. The weather becomes noticeably cooler. It has days that can touch upon perfection, low humidity, warm days and cool nights, but those same days precede the cold dark days of winter. Summers are hot, humid and sticky but its days are long and languorous and I like that.

September makes we want to move. Maybe fall is the migration season and some ancient instinct deep in the DNA wants me to follow the sun, follow the geese, move to warmer climes, see what comes next.

What is innate to humane nature? Big question - I know. But one thing that history seems to show is that humans cannot stay long in one place. They move, they migrate. Out of Africa, over mountain ranges, across frozen tundras, across oceans and past the visible horizon to see what lies beyond. The drive to explore, the restlessness, is in our base genetic material. Everyone may not share it, or act on it, but it is a thread that runs through the species. It runs through me. 

Or maybe life has made me restless. The first funeral I went to was for a child.

The child was my age so I was a child too. He was my next door neighbor and he was my best friend and he was dead. He was killed by a mistake, a regrettable unforgivable second that could never be taken back, rewound, replayed, done over. All the prayers in the world no matter how earnest no matter how heartfelt no matter how tightly I squeezed my eyes and prayed it wasn't true and that somewhere somehow a good and loving God would fix this thing because he was a child and I am a child and children should not die were not answered. So I went to his funeral and looked in the casket and saw a facsimile of my friend and I was sad, confused and restless.

The second funeral I went to was for a young man. He was my age so I was a young man too. He lived down the street from me when we were young and growing. He died in a car accident. I did not pray for a different outcome this time. There is no instant replay in real life. But I went to his funeral and looked in the casket and saw a weird made up mockup of my friend and I touched his cold hand was surprised when the coldness of his flesh burned my fingers and it made me sad and restless.

Then, as a young adult, I went to the funeral for my oldest brother who died alone and because he was alone the way he died is lost to us who loved him because too much time passed between his death and when they found his body and we will never know the reason why. We will only know the loss. And we will carry it with us forever because it makes no sense and there is no reason and my mind despises unanswered questions so the lack of an answer lingers and haunts me and always will.

Then I went to a funeral for my father. He died too young. I had not yet outgrown my youthful arrogance and earned the grace to realize that my dad was in fact human and flawed but yet still worthy of all the love and respect that I had for him as a child. Even more so because then I thought he was perfect and being a good father and a good example and a loving and caring parent is even more amazing when you are human, flawed and not perfect.

Time does not heal all wounds. I still miss my friends who died too young. I still miss my big brother whom I loved so much and was such a wonderful big brother. I still miss my dad and wonder what I could have learned from him about getting older and being a father and a son and a grandfather instead of having to figure it out as I go.

How does this tie into September. I have no idea. The days grow shorter and I grow restless and I want to move, to see, to explore because life grows shorter and has always been unpredictable. But when lived well, life is Glorious.
Maybe that is what's innate to human nature - the knowledge that life can be rich and full sometimes but tragic other times.

September reminds me to live fully. Love fully. To do good things. Leave lasting memories. September makes me restless. 

Maybe I need to go for a long ride.


  1. wonderfully written and fills me with a gentle sadness. You are a gifted writer Nigel.

  2. Even if you never imagined yourself as a Sinatra fan, after that eloquent essay you need to listen to "September Of My Years". It is the soundtrack for what you wrote. And there is no higher praise.

  3. That was beautifully written, and made me glad that something, I do not know what, on this September evening when travelling by bike, sent me back to see what you have posted. Thanks.

  4. Beautiful entry. There is something about the shortening of days throughout the fall that always gives me a sense of foreboding, and makes me more introspective.

  5. Thank all of you for your kind comments and for reading. I hope all of you get a chance to get out and enjoy the beautiful fall weather.

  6. Maybe the restlessness is of the spirit as opposed to the DNA. Either way, that's one reason we ride.