It’s my birthday … almost smack dab in the middle of September … the perfect month; a gilt edged gift from God; azure blue sky, the sun softly filtering through the trees green beginning to bronze throughout the neighborhood and along the byways. The air is smoother carrying the scents of harvest; wheat and alfalfa bales in the fields, fruit ripened waiting for a hand to pick and a mouth to savor the fresh from the branch bounty while juices run down my fingers and I attempt to capture each drop. I’ve always felt that September is the sigh between the frenetic heat and activity of summer and the solitude seeking, book reading, hot chocolate savoring nights in front of a fireplace. The Septembers past are golden dreams which never fail to fill me with peace; except one. That September is a memory blackened and twisted, full of fear and pain, a day of unimaginable evil and extraordinary courage. As the sun sets on this day and the moon rises over my safe haven of home, in reflection there are lessons which that one September day taught me; courage, unity, service, and compassion are not only for extraordinary days. I continue to look forward to the gift of September more precious because of that fateful day.