Suppose you live to seventy, and that's a huge suppose. The first few hardly count. Your first September you were likely surprised whenever your fist appeared in front of you face. Your second September you were too busy trying out your legs to notice anything else.
The third and fourth Septembers were nice, but then you got tossed into school. Then work. Deadlines, duties, and data streams.
You think you'll catch September next time around with its soft light and crisp apples, the edge of decay in the air reminding us our bodies belong to the earth and the worms. Maybe when you retire?
That leaves you five Septembers. If you get more than that they will find you in the body of an old man, a body abused for decades, a body ready to quit.
I saw three of our local "residents" cackling away on a park bench late this afternoon, as I rambled home through the Green. One was screaming "You're nuts," to the other two, and all three convulsed in hysterical laughter, because they were, indeed, nuts, have been certifiable for years, and they were outside on a late September day, a gorgeous day that almost allows me to forgive fall, and they were happy as the fat squirrels who waddled around the same bench, hoping for peanuts.
I want my students college and career ready, true, because they have no land and can starve if they fail to play the game.
But I also want my students to see the beauty of late September light with its earth smells, to laugh at the absurdity of the dying light, to howl at the moon, to play, to wander and wonder, to be the mammals that we are.
If the heart of science is observation, and I believe that it is, and if my teaching carries any influence, as I believe it does (why else teach?), then our town will continue to have fools cackle on park benches in the dying summer light.
And if I'm lucky, I'll spend a September or two cackling right along with them, our wise fools of the park, no longer pretending that the matters of man matter more than the ginkgo that shades the bench.
Photos by us. Go us! CC and all that. Boats in Galway, mud field in Cae May.