Until September, 1972, I lived a contented, slow-paced life on the farm with my stay-at-home mommy and pilot daddy and little sister and baby brother. Then I went to kindergarten, and my world expanded suddenly and gloriously. The classroom was a wonder — it was decorated with large, colorful cut-outs of happy children skipping toward a red brick school building amidst the swirling, crunchy leaves under their feet. Immediately, I understood that I was one of those children who had a place to go every day and, more importantly, work to do. I intuited that there were things expected of me in this room, and every task and the materials for those tasks were organized by time and place. Here were the cubbies for our jackets. Here was the rug where we sat while the teacher read stories to us. Here was the table and my chair where I colored and cut and glued and watched with horror while the boy who sat next to me ate the paste when the teacher wasn’t looking. And best, best of all, here was the teacher’s supply closet, a wondrous construction filled with cunning compartments to hold all manner of papers and felts and streamers and stickers and delights I had never imagined could exist. When the teacher opened the door to her magical closet, I used to catch my breath. There was no telling what she might bring out, and what were we going to do next? My days in kindergarten were some of the most organized and productive of my life.
Forty-two years later, September still gives me that gift. Languid August is over, and no matter the forecast, I half-expect to wake up on the day after Labor Day to sweater weather and crunchy red and gold leaves under my feet. I am ready to re-organize whatever has become sloppy, make a fresh start, find a better routine, and be productive. Vacation is over; time to get to work.
What about you? Is September your real New Year? Do you long for a fresh start? Do you have something new to engage with this month? What’s going on in your life?