It’s begun. Produce at the grocery store is being decoratively described as “harvest”. I went to Michael’s with my sister-in-law and limped desperately, eyes closed past ceramic pumpkins. I gasped for air in Pier 1, trying to clear my nostrils of the cloying cinnamon smell. Walmart is advertising the coolest new pens I’ve ever seen. The sweet scent of coconut sun block and grilled hamburgers is fading faster than I do in direct sunlight. I can deny it no longer. Fall is coming.
Before I began teaching, autumn was my favorite season. I loved it so much, in fact, my husband and I got married in October- the most beautiful month of the year, in my opinion. It boasts of all my favorite colors: holy golds, vibrant reds, crossing guard orange, deep chocolate browns and chestnuts. It swings in on my favorite scents: spice and apples and cobblers and coffee and the crisp coldness that clings right to the front of your face- the tip of your nose. I celebrated the first fall after graduating from college- finally! Never again will this beautiful season be marred by the anxiety ridden first day of school. Never again will it signify new notebooks, new pencils, new friends, new responsibilities, new pep rallies, new shoes. I admit I drank hot apple cider every day that year. I rolled around in the falling leaves. I purchased aforementioned dreaded ceramic pumpkins. And put them everywhere. Even in the bathroom. Never a good idea, by the way.
Sigh. My jubilance was short lived. Why, you ask? Because I am currently sitting in my living room, on August 12th, in a sea of rough sketches, all displaying how I will be setting up my classroom in a few (very short) weeks. You’ve got it. The one who waited her whole life to be free from the vice-like grip of public school now works in one. Not just any one, mind you. But the very similar institution in which my last years of adolescence were spent wishing I was foraging the rain forests in Borneo, battling life-sized tarantulas. Here I am, Mrs. Shannon, High School English Teacher. Die, Autumn sunsets. Bloody red. Dirty bar, flashing neon sign orange. Die.
Of course, it doesn’t help that at this time last year, my husband and I were reading up on London, Dublin and Edinburgh and buying trial sized, well, everything. Oh, because we were going there. In September. For three weeks. Alright. Enough. All of that was not intended to make it into this post, but being that blogs often have a mind of their own, it couldn’t be helped. I hope this isn’t the onset of some abnormal schizophrenic behavior, granted, it is my mind regardless. I digress. (but those who happen to diagnose as a profession are free to get back to me) Getting down to the real reason….
I have decided to reclaim my season. It is my season, after all. So, I’m a teacher. A lot about that sucks right now, but that is for a different post entirely. I am downright refusing that minute detail to hinder my joy. I WILL NOT purchase one new pen, no matter how cool it is. I will plug my nose to the new notebook smell and breath in the macintosh apples instead. I will bake, leisurely even, as if there are no papers to grade. I will go on hay rides and eat cider donuts and salted pumpkin seeds until I fall blissfully into a foma (food-coma, for those scratching heads in bewilderment) or throw up. Whichever comes first. I will wear red shoes, no matter how many of my students taunt me. What do they know? They wear purple knee socks with mini skirts. Have they ever seen my first grade picture? Helllllo? The only thing they’re missing is the side-pony tail. I will smile into the sunshine, watch the sunset every night from my porch( if we still have one ; which is, again, another post entirely) go for walks in sweaters and Birkenstocks and never once dream of being late for class. Well, the last one is already broken considering it’s begun already. And I was not only late, but naked and without teeth as well.
I have allowed life’s circumstances to take from me what is mine for too long. I’m placing my flag right in the middle of that pumpkin pie. I’m “going to the mattresses”. Autumn is mine.