Summer ends early in middle Tennessee. Not weather wise – oh, no – we are getting into some hot days this week. But school starts back and the weather (and “real life”) become less important when your days are spent inside a school room. Teachers went back last Friday – August 1, and students return this Friday – August 8.
I have always lamented this early return to school. August is when summer is just getting fired up. There are plenty more blistering days and humid evenings to get through. The beginning of school should be associated with cool nights, morning fogs, apples, and turning leaves. Plus, in my family, we have birthdays and anniversaries to celebrate in August. So many other things to do besides think about school. No, not yet.
But it is so hard to soak up summer and celebrate fully when all thoughts turn to classroom lists, bulletin boards, and lessons plans. That’s why is always pains me to see beautiful fall displays that appear this time of year, even though I LOVE the season of autumn. They remind me that my carefree days are over and routine is returning and there will be lots more things to worry about and many problems to solve very soon.
Yesterday I went to JoAnn’s for some fabric and this sight greeted me as I walked across the parking lot to the store:
But guess what? This doesn’t scare me anymore. It doesn’t even make me sad.
This is only the third year in the last 55 years that I haven’t started school in the fall. (One year working at another kind of business job, one year on maternity leave, and this year makes three.) And every year, once I got started, I relished every aspect of this teaching life. It was my calling, and my joy.
But not this year. This is my first year – my third day, actually, to be RETIRED. So I am looking at things differently. And honestly, I like the lens. It may feel different when those cool nights and autumn leaves finally do arrive, we’ll see. But for now, I really do like what I see!