Summer's here and the time is right for dancing in the streets.
Okay, I'm not exactly dancing, and I have been pretty much sticking to the sidewalks when I am doing anything that might resemble dancing. Walking, running, and so forth. There have been some other telltale signs that the season has changed. The days are longer. The nights are shorter. Flag Day has come and gone, and the big daddy of them all, the Fourth of July is almost upon us.
People are cooking outside. You can smell it. People are playing outside. You can hear it. And in anticipation of Independence Day, you can hear and smell people prepping for fireworks displays that will eventually light up the night. The sulfur and explosions remind me of another month passing and the calendar pages ticking down the moments we know and love as summer vacation.
Having already made a trip out to Colorado to visit my mother, I have now begun the secondary function of my summer which is to catch my breath and imagine a new school year that will begin before I know it.
Which is the surprising part. After twenty-one years, one might imagine that the rhythm of the school year would be hardwired in my nervous system. I should feel the waves and anticipate the ebbs and flows. I should know the way this thing is going to turn. Teaching for a couple decades, and spending another decade and a half as a student, how can there still be any surprises left?
Okay. They're not exactly surprises. They are more like moments of supreme naivete. What sort of nuance or subtle deviation from the norm should I expect? I check my email and look at the calendar and I wait for the call. There was a time when there was more preparation and planning. When the school district was flush with money to train us all to perform and present newly adopted texts and programs.
Now the school is being cleaned. One hundred eighty days of wear and tear and child-scrawled graffiti must be scrubbed from the desks and walls. New teachers will be hired. New kids will enroll. I will be going back. But not today.
It's summertime, and the living is easy. More or less.