It’s back to school in just two days.
When I was a kid, I loved September. I’ve never been a big fan of the kind of heat August brings and September, when I could start thinking about wearing jeans a sweaters again without sweating, was always a relief.
September, when I could anticipate weekends curled up in blankets reading a good book because the infernal gray drizzle had come to stay.
September, when once again I got to crack books and get lost in trig or O-chem or some grand thinking geography class I’d taken on a whim.
September, the real new year.
Growing up means that all those memories get layered in experience and September had been sullied a little by it all. Now, instead of taking the trip into a new subject, I’m the guide. In fact, I’m the wizard, which means it no longer looks like magic and I know five thousand ways it could go wrong. This is also the season when I first learned what it felt like to collapse from the inside out. Metaphorically, of course, but for anyone whose wondering what divorce might feel like, there’s your answer.
The past few years, September has been this discomfiting mix of relief and anxiety. We’re passing into fall and it’s beautiful. I have to welcome a class load of students into a year of their education and I’m terrified I won’t live up to my own reputation. The misty rain that makes wool a wonder fabric is moving in and I’m breaking out the knitting needles. The way the light falls triggers memories of driving to work wondering how long it was possible to go without eating or sleeping before I drove the car off the road.
This September I am adding another layer to it all, a better layer. This little idea that I am a writer has begun to grow large enough for me to hold on to. Who I am is not defined entirely by my marriage or my job but by this other thing that is controlled entirely by me. Okay, not entirely, because if I were in complete control I wouldn’t get nearly so many rejections. But this other thing, this writing thing, is humming along nicely, including publications due out in September, October and November. They’re small, but something.
And I’ll hold on to anything that will help me love September again.