Today is unofficially the end of summer, although really Saturday was because, well, there’s no time left to recover from anything you could do in the time you’ve got left.
For several thousand kids and teachers It Begins, and the marathon of the school year that seems like it just ended the other day starts up again, ready or not. The butterflies are already colonizing your stomach at the thought.
But it’s OK. Labor Day is just around the corner, and the weekends come remarkably fast when you aren’t looking for them, quick as the boiling of an unwatched pot.
For most people, tomorrow is just Monday, and, at least in this region with its climate, it’s going to be hot days and warm evenings still for some time to come.
This is West Texas. We have three seasons: “winter” otherwise known as “a cold front”; “summer,” which is both spring and fall to the rest of the world; and “SUMMER,” which strangely makes us contemplate death more serenely than usual.
So I’m actually terribly optimistic about the start of the second half of one of the better seasons out here. This school year stuff doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s been some years since my life has proceeded according to any sort of annual metronome, and I have no complaints, except, of course, about the end of progress.
The thing you take for granted as a kid is this inherent feeling of progress. Even when graduation is a long, long way off, you get a vague sense of fulfillment by managing to survive another year, and get bumped up one more level of seniority on your way to becoming a senior.
This isn’t necessarily a good thing. We probably wish our students cared more about what they accomplished, but it’s the way of things, and maybe in some way it builds confidence. I don’t know.
But once that ends, and years are not marked off by a title of some kind, progression happens much more unevenly or not at all, and then there’s that weird phenomenon where you try to think how long ago a thing happened, and when you’re pretty sure you’ve got it figured out, you double the number and find that’s what made you right.
Which is probably the difference between the adult life and the student life. As a student, you more or less know exactly when a thing happened because your years are much more rare and therefore more precious, whereas as an adult, anything in the past five years is more or less interchangeable; at some point, I’m sure, there’s a 20 year sliding scale that all events fit into, in a nebulous way.
But so it goes and continues, and the end of the student-summer isn’t the end of everything. There will be another one soon: just give it nine months. Give it four months for the foretaste called Christmas, and until then enjoy the weekends.
And enjoy the five days in between, too, because unlike summer, they don’t keep coming around again.