The 1951 House Chronicle contains this entry for mid-September:

Radiators On. Marathon lived up to its reputation on Friday, September 14, when the heat went on in the building for the first time this “winter”. The day was not exceptionally cold, but it was one of those in-between days, damp and chill, that are so uncomfortable.

September 14, 2021 dawned a bit cool as well, but at least it was not damp. A couple of our guests who stayed overnight Monday asked if the heat would be on Tuesday evening and were disappointed to learn it would not. It is tempting when those first few cold nights arrive to have JustBob fill the radiator system and fire up the boilers. However, the short-range forecast calls for temperatures in the high 80’s this weekend and the long-range forecast calls for well above normal temperatures through the end of September, so right now it is more prudent to wait. Thus begins our annual dilemma – how long can we wait?

We know September brings cooler nights and shorter days. What we don’t always know is what else it might bring. As the 1951 Chronicle implies, Marathon’s reputation, and Wisconsin’s reputation as well, is that September weather can be fickle – cold and damp one day, then sunny, hot and humid the next.

This year, despite some cooler nights and days, we have not yet had a frost. Although the vegetable garden and flower garden are showing signs the end of the growing season is at hand, there are also signs that Mother Nature will continue to produce her bounty. Tomatoes continue to ripen as they hang from vines that from outward appearances are dead. Flower blossoms are fewer in number but continue to add color to our grounds. Grapes cling to vines in the courtyard, continuing to ripen and sweeten despite the shrinking hours of sunlight. Most of the hummingbirds seem to have started their journey south, but other birds remain. Occasionally a flock of geese make their presence known as they fly overhead, but the skies are not crowded with migrating fowl.

Some might see the cooler nights and shorter days as an ominous harbinger of cold winter days ahead and spend these days fretting about what is to come, but if we worry about the future, we will miss enjoying what these September days bring. This September’s days with their bright sunshine, blue skies, pleasant temperatures and fewer insects make for enjoyable walks on the grounds, and more opportunities to sit outside and reflect on the beauty of nature around us. This September’s cooler nights make open windows, fresh air and the quiet of no fans or air conditioners possible.

For all the gifts that September’s cooler nights and shorter days bring, we say Deo Gratias!