See You In September

Lughnasa                                                            Eclipse Moon

 Since 1953, life has changed for me in September. The first day of first grade at Tomlinson Elementary, out on Route 9 heading toward Anderson, began a routine that is now, 64 years later, still ingrained. Harrison was a two-story building of brick and wood, its floors and stairs and bannisters smelling of wood polish and cleaning compound. My first grade classroom with Miss Butcher had a cloak room just inside its door with hooks for our coats and cubbies for whatever else we brought.

I loved when the school supplies flier would come in the mail, knowing it meant a trip to the store for glue, crayons, number 2 lead pencils, construction paper and other necessities. That list was the signal flare for my imagination. Just think what might be drawn or colored or written or constructed! Over time, the many Septembers since then, that list changed, but the bump of excitement I got when getting ready for the new school year remains.  I’m 41 years past my last September of a new school year, that one in 1976 at United Theological Seminary in New Brighton, Minnesota, far away in time, distance and intellectual challenge from Harrison.

At the temperate latitudes in which I have lived all my life, the gradual lowering of both daytime and nighttime temperatures which begins in August (or, at least, used to begin in August), signals my body first, then my mind, that something wonderful is about to happen. A few aspen trees change their leaves, the angle of the sun gets lower in the sky, and the yellow school buses stop traffic at Shadow Mountain Drive.

My energy level increases as the vitality sapping heat diminishes. Those projects for the year, that September to May year, snap back into focus: Jennie’s Dead, Reimagining Faith, translating Typhon’s story in Ovid, reading kabbalah, learning Hebrew. Mountain hikes like the one Saturday become more fun. The High Holidays are approaching, then Sukkot and after that Simchat Torah. Later on Samain and the start of Holiseason. Thanksgiving.

See you in September. With a grin on my face.

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