September has arrived with its promise of cool, clear days, cider, apples and the early morning scent of woodsmoke, but my usual high spirits have forsaken me. Autumn is my favorite season, but this year my mood is melancholy. On a personal level, I feel many of my traditional summer pleasures passed me by as I struggled with the uncertainties of the bankruptcy process in a legal system that is not forthcoming with information. I have always been an organized person who likes to have a degree of control over my life, and I am so weary of unanswered Emails from my attorney and phone menus that bounce me from one incompetent person to another as I try to sort through the issues involved in closing our business and restructuring our financial life. I had been hopeful that the entire process would be finished by September and I would be starting over with a much less complicated, though austere life. However, September has brought no closure.
The last week in August was a time of sorrow in upstate New York, as Hurricane Irene swept up the eastern seaboard, leaving destruction in its wake. While my little neighborhood suffered only a power outage, communities all around us have suffered the devastation of massive flooding. Lives were lost; farmers have lost their entire harvests to floodwaters; homes and businesses have floated away downstream taking a lifetime of memories and hopes with them; communities have been cut off by washed out roads and bridges. Some quaint little historic main streets are no more. My heart is heavy as I ponder the terror and sorrow these neighbors have dealt with over the past few days, and the massive project of cleaning up and trying to rebuild is daunting.
The economic and political news this summer is painful. As unemployment and low pay threatens financial destruction for so many of our citizens, the politicians in Washington play their games to keep the other party from power, with absolutely no thought to the people they have been elected to represent. I wonder if any of them remember what life is like in the real world. They are all so focused on the next election, and on keeping their campaign funds from corporate America rolling in. Do they even think of the human consequences of their grandstanding, childish behavior. Do they think of the men and women searching for jobs - the people who must make choices between paying the mortgage or buying ridiculously expensive basic food items to feed their children. Do they really understand the prohibitive cost of health insurance. The health insurance policy we had while in business cost $900 per month for a couple; once the business was no longer functioning, this same policy cost $1900 per month. Same policy, same two people, same insurance company -- how is this fair? The politicans talk of cutting entitlements. Do they realize that people who do not make a living wage need help. There will always be among us the old, the sick, the mentally ill, the injured, and people with very low IQ's who aren't capable of performing more than menial work which pays very little. What are they planning to do with these people???? The Conservative Christian segment of the Republican party seems to have lost sight of the fact that the Christian values they want to shove down the throats of our nation are at odds with the Christ I know -- the man who taught us to take care of the poor and the sick, and to not judge others -- to leave the judging to God.
Alas, on this quiet September morning I will push away all of these worrisome thoughts. I have a weekend of work ahead of me to prepare my house and yard for a family clambake next weekend. Tomorrow we will celebrate the baptism of my precious little granddaughter, Emma. In a few minutes I will pour myself another cup of coffee and get busy. The lawn needs mowing; the gardens need tending; the house desperately needs cleaning, and I will be thankful that I have these mundane little chores to do on this first weekend in September, and I will be sure to take the time to "smell the flowers" as I work along.