For so many years, the day after Labour Day marked the first day of school for our household. Up early, new pencils and notebooks packed into backpacks, eye on the clock, kids racing down the driveway as the school bus made the turn on the highway coming from Egmont. I’d listen from the deck to hear the bus doors opening, then closing, and the engine revving as the bus began its ascent of the Sakinaw hill. John or I would walk the kids down to the bus when they were little but then they asked us not to. Our black Lab/Wolf X Lily went with them, waiting until they’d climbed the step and the driver closed the doors to return to the house without them, patient until 3:45 when she’d cock an ear, then trot down the driveway again to meet them. Our Retriever X Tiger was less reliable. Some days she’d accompany them and some days she’d be off in her own world. But she did love to see them walking up the driveway.
I still hear the bus, still imagine it stopping at our driveway for the ghosts who wait for it. Still expect to see a black dog, or a golden one, returning.
In the meantime, here’s a September bouquet, and a few lines of Anna Akhmatova, in Judith Hemschemyer’s translation:
“Let them be more plentiful than stars kindled
In the September skies —
For children, for wanderers, for lovers
They grow, those wild flowers.”