Monday, September 16, 2019

Harvest Moon, by Michele Weber Hurwitz

This fall marks the first year that I haven't had a child go back to school. After twenty-one years of unpacking school supply kits, helping with homework, washing smelly P.E. clothes, and going to parent-teacher conferences, not to mention moving my kids in and out of college dorms and apartments, it feels strange not to be shepherding someone back to school. It feels bittersweet, and a little empty, like some necessary tasks are missing from my day. Shouldn't I be sharpening some pencils and making lunches? Answering their texts about class scheduling issues and roommate problems?

My youngest graduated from college this past May, and I now have three adult children, all of them employed, and all living on their own. I admit that feels a little strange too. Definitely good, but strange.

See, there's that September moon to contend with. A full butter-cookie yellow one; the soft, melancholy kind that signals the change of season -- the end of long, lazy summer afternoons and the beginning of crisp, cool nights.

The passage of time kind of moon.

There's an ancient name for every month's full moon, and in September, it's the Harvest Moon, or the Full Corn Moon -- related, of course, to the corn being ready to harvest. I remember my parents singing an old tune: Shine On, Harvest Moon.

So shine on
Shine on harvest moon
Up in the sky
I ain't had no lovin' since January, February, June or July...
At this point, my parents would stop for a kiss (much to my preteen embarrassment), to give each other some lovin' apparently. They didn't sing any more, and that was all I ever knew of the song. 

To this day, when I see the September moon, I can still hear them singing "shine on harvest moon" over and over.

Some things just stay with you about this time of year -- my parents' smiles and off-key voices, the perfect points on that box of new pencils, or when I was in elementary school, the smell of worksheets fresh from the mimeograph machine.

To reference another song -- Earth Wind and Fire's "September" -- in which the opening line asks: Do you remember? evoking a yearning feeling of days gone by.

I hope you find some moments this month to sit back, look at the moon, and remember.

Visit Michele online at Her fifth middle grade novel, Hello From Renn Lake, publishes next May from Wendy Lamb Books/Penguin Random House.

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