September always makes me think about Bilbo Baggins and the dwarves setting off on an adventure, his furry hobbit feet and their sturdy dwarf ones whispering through the long grasses of the fields bordering the Shire. Perhaps it’s because the prairie beyond our home waves at me each morning, the hummingbirds come to feed, and the app on my phone records the slowly departing birdsong that has sustained me throughout the lovely summer days. There is a hint of mystery in the lessening of daylight, the gradual decline of growing things, as though a mage has passed a wand and sent us into tomorrow.

I’ve been reading widely this summer, revisiting favorite authors like Sarah J. Maas and trying new ones like Rebecca Yarros, dipping into the past in non-fiction, exploring Ann Napolitano and Hua Hsu. I’ve also been writing poetry and researching the Quakers for my historical novel about them and the UGRR in the Springboro-Waynesville area. I attended a meeting for worship in the Friends Meeting House in Waynesville, the 1811 building as welcoming as the congregation, the setting a refuge as we spent an hour in silent contemplation.

Often these days, I feel the press of time as I look over the agenda I have set for myself, the list of things I want to write expands even as the time I have to accomplish them remains unknown. But no one of us can predict with certainty how long we’ll have to reach our goals. All I can do is set them and step forward into the stream of life.

As September rolls by, I wish each of you time and space, health and kindness, and many quiet moments in which to breathe with the rhythm of the season. Meanwhile, I’m dusting off my hiking boots and setting out on my own quest…for inspiration, for sustenance, for joy.