Jacki Kellum

Juxtapositions: Read My Mind

Category: Seasons

I Have Declared September as the Beginning of My New Year – And I Honor September 11th

Today, it is 9 – 11, and I am celebrating  fall and the beginning of my own personal new year. All of us must also honor September 11th as the day that the USA managed to rise from its tragic devastation. Every Year on September 11, I like to play a video showing Liza Minelli and Pavarotti singing New York, New York. It is my Anthem of Survival.

Because September is traditionally the time that school begins and the time to buy new crayons and glue and to get a shiny new ruler–one that isn’t nicked and scratched–I believe that fall should be the time to start a new year. Fall is also the time of the apple harvest, and I associate apples with teachers and  apple pie with mom and the apple tree with the Tree of Life.

Image result for painting of eve in apple tree

Image result for johnny appleseed

September is also the month of Johnny Appleseed’s birthday. John Chapman was born on September 26, 1774, and he is the fellow who traveled from state to state, sharing apple seeds and a page from his Bible.  Champman always traveled the same route and when he returned from a journey he would recollect the page that he had left before and would leave another in its place. For that reason. John Chapman, who was nicknamed Johny Appleseed, is considered America’s first librarian.

I feel quite sure that most of Johnny’s original apple trees have died, but around each old, dried stump, where the first apple trees were planted, other  apple trees sprang up, and in that way, the USA became an apple-growing country. Johnny Appleseed left other stumps, too. Following Johnny’s example, formal library systems are dotted around the country and all of us bloggers repeatedly share what we know.

But let’s return to apple trees and apples. Because I link apples with the Tree of Life and with schools and teachers and with Mom and her apple pie, I regard apples to be  more than simple pieces of fruit. In my opinion, apples are symbolic of prosperity and growth. And  because the fall is the time for harvesting apples, I see another reason for celebrating my own personal new year during fall, during the time of the apple harvest, and at the time that I honor the fallen on September 11.

Sometimes Rosh Hashanah is celebrated in September, and I had decided that I might simply borrow Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, for myself, but this year, Rosh Hashanah is in October. I know that several primitive cultures had large festivals in the fall, and I decided that I would research to see if  I could find myself a New Year that would always fall in September, and I found one. The holiday is Enkutatash, and it is celebrated on September 11. Enkutatash is the Ethiopian New Year, and September 11 was the time that terrorists attacked my country.


All things seem to point to the fact that from this day forward, my personal New Year will be on September 11.  Certainly, I do not celebrate the falling of the towers in NYC, and I do not celebrate the fact that lives were lost on that tragic day. But I do celebrate that, like the Phoenix rising out of the ashes, America has managed to prevail. Tonight, I’ll go down to the water’s edge of my home at the Jersey Shore, and I’ll light a Roman Candle for Life.

“I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail.” – William Faulkner

©Jacki Kellum September 11, 2016


It’s September: I Know That It Is Fall! – Jacki Kellum

One advantage of living in the North is that as soon as the calendar hits September 1, PLOP! The curtain drops! And It Turns Fall! That doesn’t happen in the South. I remember my school-teaching days in Mississippi. I remember standing out on the asphalt parking lot and waiting for the kids to load into the buses. The heat was so intense that I felt as though I was baking–literally! I half-expected that my flesh would begin to fall off my bones–pulled-pork style.

In the North, we have some hot days in summer, but summer doesn’t last as long as it does in the South. I have laughed, saying that I believe that whoever broke the years into seasons, lived in New Jersey, because in New Jersey, we have 4 distinctive seasons, and you can bank on them changing at exactly the time that they are supposed to change.

I know that on March 20, I’ll be whimpering. Last year, it snowed here on April 9, and I felt that the weather gods had forsaken us. But even then, there had been hints of spring. Last year, winter simply decided to blast us one more time before it moved along. I complained, but I knew that spring was around the corner. By April in New Jersey, it always is. Even now, we’ll have a few more hot days before we start building fires.

Image result for asters flowers

But in my garden, my purple asters have begun to bloom. That is my cue to buy yellow chrysanthemums. My black-eyed Susans are about done for the year, and my purples need some golden yellow, and my bluish-purple chaste tree is also in full bloom.

Image result for shoal creek chaste tree

We’ll still have some days that are typical of Indian Summer, but by September 1 in New Jersey, it is time to begin looking at the flannel shirts and leggings. By September 1, the pumpkins and the sunflowers that have hit the stores and stands make sense because, by September1 in New Jersey, fall has begun. The downside to that, however, is that winter is close behind.

©Jacki Kellum September 6, 2016


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