My mind is abuzz with memories from long ago as we enter yet another autumn. As the air begins to cool, we are again reminded of the passage of time. Fall does that.
Do you remember autumn, the cool air, and heading back to school?
Those first few days back in a classroom in the 1960s were always hot and humid, which made it challenging to learn anything. Our minds were numb from the heat. We didn’t have air conditioned classrooms in 1965. I recall hot sticky late summer days and the resonance of Katydids echoing throughout the trees. The air was moist, heavy and alive with the sounds of Mother Nature getting ready to bed down for a long winter’s nap. Katydids, also known as “Bush Crickets,” signaled the end of summer. We associate that sound with the dog days of summertime. They began their concert with short chirps in July that grew into a steady buzzy roar as late summer ensued.
Of all the seasons, fall has always been my favorite. It is a season of calming, settling in, and preparing for the darkness of winter. For some, autumn is decidedly depressing. There’s less daylight, which affects our moods. The trees and grass gradually become grey and barren. The rustle of leaves and chilly northern breezes signal the onset of winter. Nature goes to sleep in a process of rest and regeneration. It is surely true more people die in the fall than in any other season.
Fall is all about closure and the end of another year.
Ironically, those first hints of autumn are also times of great anticipation. The sweet wonderful aroma of woodsmoke in the air is a smell we become conditioned by early on. Doesn’t the smell of woodsmoke from neighborhood fireplaces and cookouts remind you of Christmastime? That’s our conditioning from the time we can toddle. It seems to begin long about Halloween and becomes sweeter as autumn deepens.
Back to school was always a dreaded time. Shoes that were too tight. Time in a dressing room trying on all sorts of clothes – including heavily-starched shirts and pants that did not fit. That first early morning breakfast of the school year – Cheerios and white toast with not enough butter. The smell of a school bus that had been closed up all summer. Passing the same line up of homes and businesses. Turning the corner and roaring up in front of our schools. A new and different classroom. A fresh face teacher you either liked or immediately hated. The issuance of book covers with local business ads.
Madison Avenue liked starting brand loyalty early.
Unless you really loved school, each school year was long, boring, and monotonous. “Get out your arithmetic books and turn to page 24…” Because I personally hated math, it was challenging to turn to page 24 and actually be interested. The good news is – I loved English and History.
Springtime was always an awakening. Trees began to bud and life returned in a rush of euphoria. As swiftly as school began, it wound down to a close and all those goodbyes from teachers and classmates.
See you in September…
The seasons and the school years were but the beginning of a lifetime of endless turnover, which led us all to where we are now—amid reflection…