Out of the corner of my eye, I catch a glimmer of red, a smudge of gold, a hint of rust. September has stamped its presence on a handful of leaves. The garden is fading into fire. How did this happen so quickly? There were many wonderful summer moments left to experience. Although the weather is still warm (read: humid), there are reminders of autumn everywhere.
Reminders of transformation, change, impermanence.
There is a sense of loss but there is also the excitement that comes with the start of a new school year. I may have graduated eons ago, but it still feels like the year begins in September. Fresh notebooks, new ballpoint pens, crisp lined paper, sharpened pencils, new textbooks, course outlines and the perfect first-day-of-school outfit. Now, I walk into classrooms with armfuls of papers, books and markers. Instead of sitting at a desk riddled with doodles and hardened gum, I stand in front of a classroom and doodle on the board. The tables may have turned, but I’m still learning.
In honour of this lifelong journey of learning, I have decided to school myself this September. I’m listening to the audiobook version of “Landmarks” by Robert Macfarlane (a luminous book) and the print copy is on its way. My intention is to listen and read–but to also to write and respond. I want to enter into a dialogue with text to learn from it, not to critique it.
Perhaps I will stroll through the campus grounds of my alma mater, and pretend that I am a student once again. I will plop myself down at a carrel in the library, open my book and read the following:
“Certain books, though, like certain landscapes, stay with us even when we have left them, changing not just our weathers but our climates.”
-Robert Macfarlane, Landmarks
How will you school yourself in September?
Wishing you a spectacular September,