This is the final week of summer, at least according to the school calendar, if not according to the orbit of the earth around the sun. Frankly, it feels to me as if summer only just began, so I am not at all sure how school could possibly be starting in a little over a week. I really wanted to clean the siding on our house this summer…
But school will be starting soon. The orange traffic cones will be appearing in the middle of the streets; the temporary stop signs will be unfurled from their summer rests, and the school crossing guards will be giving a nod and a smile as they escort the walkers and bikers through the cross walks.
The cicadas are buzzing. The crickets have been chirping regularly in the evenings now for a while—13 weeks to first frost. Pretty soon crop dust will be filling the sky and giving us brilliantly colored fall twilights and harvest moons, as the farmers bring in their crops.
Even the robins have become scarce. Red-winged black birds no longer fiercely guard their territory and waterfowl seem to be on the move. A few trees, still stressed from last year’s drought, are already showing fall color.
After 22 years of school and several more of college teaching, I still find myself tuned into the rhythms of the school year. I miss not starting new classes or meeting a new group of college students. Every fall always brought with it much change—new faculty, new students, but with that change the promise of new friends, new adventures and new things to learn. That promise is missing from corporate world, which has somehow glommed onto the change but forgotten the promise.
There has been much change in our town over this summer, a bypass has been completed that now ensures that there is more traffic on the road behind the Pig than on what used to be the state highway that ran through town. I noticed this when I was sitting in in the park while my daughter played on the splash pad—which, by the way, is also a change. Our library will be expanding, police department and city hall moving, and soon I will be able to ride my bike to the YMCA. We even had online registration for school—a welcomed change in my mind.
So yes, fall is upon us and with fall comes change, but with that change is incredible promise: The promise of a student discovering that “spark” that ignites her imagination, the promise of making new friends and starting new traditions, the promise of a community that has grown and developed getting to know itself all over again.
© 2013 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.