Hope is Kindled

High Summer

High Summer

If I had a blog, today I would write about crossing the bridge towards autumn. I went to Wal-Mart this morning and as I moved into the “seasonal” area, I noted with smug satisfaction that the picnic-ware and pool toys were being taken away and the Back to School extravaganza of notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, and so on, were being moved in. This pleases me for several reasons: First, it means that we’ve hit mid-summer. Memorial Day is done, the Fourth of July is over, and all that remains between us and autumn is Labor Day.

I don’t exactly dislike summer, in fact I love it at the start. Nothing feels better after six months of somber brown and grey than to see the trees turn green, the flowers bloom, watch for the first barn-swallow, the first lightning bugs, and listen for the song of the whippoorwill on a soft, sweet evening. But, as time passes, its more about scorching heat, lugging garden hoses, and tending to bug-bites and poison ivy. By July 5th, the “bloom is off the rose,” quite literally, and I am dreaming of fall.

The Old School House - Columbia, MO

Vintage School House – Columbia, MO

The second reason I am pleased, and this is the smug part, is that I no longer have to go to school. As a kid, I loved shopping for school supplies; the notebooks divided with tabs, organized by subject, the neatly filled pencil boxes, and pleasantries like pocket calendars, assignment notebooks, and pin-ups for my locker were intoxicating. I organized and re-organized my goodies, carefully chose what I’d wear the first day of school, and practiced hairstyles and jewelry combos as if I was going to Oxford or La Sorbonne and even enjoyed my first day back in the hallowed halls of the Rolla school system, but then reality struck: I was going to have to be there from 8:30 to 3:30, five-days-a-week for nine whole months! Nine months of captivity among largely hostile natives who seemed at home in the chaos of the lunchroom and who understood the secret social rules I never seemed to get. What was I thinking! Run, Bambi! Run!

The Road Home

The Road Home

So, now that I have reached the middle-years of my life, I can still buy organizers and pens and calendars but they are for my office at home. That’s right, at home. I can stand back and watch the next generation ponder which is the coolest folder and what pen will garner the most appreciation from their peeps and breathe a sigh of relief that I have earned my stripes and autumn is now mine, all mine.

It isn’t often that I thank Wal-Mart for being a symbol of joyful anticipation, but today proves anything is possible. Sure, its only been fifteen days since the Summer Solstice, but the days are getting shorter by 54 seconds and the sun is slowly shifting back to the south. In August, the light will change, hinting at the mellow days to come and before you know it, the mums will be in bloom and the pumpkins ripening in the field. We have a ways to go yet, but what is life without hope for the future? Today, in my world, hope is kindled.

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