Septembers and Junes

“School teachers measure their lives in Septembers and Junes.” I quote/paraphrase my friend and colleague JHay in this, but it will not surprise any educator to hear it. In an ecological setting, we school teachers were also reminded of how we measure our lives by the natural world, trees, and the changing appearance, and then disappearance, of leaves.

I just spent a wonderful week meeting and prepping for the new school year with my work family, and trying to summon up how much I love September (and always have), and how oddly that contrasts with the melancholy that surrounds the dwindling days of August. I understand that I should be enjoying August as it unfolds, but every day that passes is one closer to summer ending and the tyranny of the alarm clock’s returning dominance.

Still, the life of a school teacher has many benefits, besides just the joys of teaching and, hopefully, inspiring kids to ongoing lives of curiosity and learning.

So, I had to add my own gauge by which school teachers measure their days, their years, their lives. And Gretchen Rubin is absolutely right – “The Days are Long, but the Years are Short.” We measure them by the students, whether boys or girls, because the students (like the leaves on trees) change in appearance, they age, and move on. But we don’t. Not us. Unless it’s in the going. Honestly, 25-45 is pretty much the same age as far as our students are concerned. And when I look around at my colleagues, I don’t see them any differently than I did 11 years ago. But those boys: boy oh boy, have they grown up! (from pre-kindergarten to high school and beyond).

I’m thinking about trees differently these days, as I try to stay rooted in my different realities. And about how trees are lovely at any stage or age.