Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Crisp Mornings & Blank Pages

I adore September. Or, at least I used to. When I was 5 Shiny Shan got to go to school and I stayed home. Freckles had left for school the year before, and there was nothing I wanted more than to go with them. So mom mixed GORP and taught me to read. Or I went next door and Shiny's mom taught me to make chocolate chip cookies and play solitaire. And finally - after 12 long months - it was my turn. I got on the bus, sat next to Shiny and after a long bumpy ride arrived in a world of chalk dust and special projects (paper made from blue jeans, anyone?) and endless shelves of magic-containing books.

For the next 14 years every September meant a return to that world. The smell of the chalk (or better yet, Mom's photostat machine in the office!). The blank notebooks begging to hold my thoughts. The open access to libraries full of books.

And then I took a break, and had the BB's but I eventually came back for more Septembers. Somewhere in that break chalkboards had been replaced with whiteboards and their own distinctive smells. But I still cherished the blank page, the fresh pen, the opportunity to learn.

After 5 more years of university, I thought I had it in me to head out into the world and take on lifelong learning on my own. But still, every September, I crave the start of something new, the chance to learn, the excitement of the first day, and the buzz of a classroom of colleagues.

I've never given up on my dream to finish my PhD. But that's not it ... there's a difference between being a life-long learner and being a professional student, and I'm not interested in the second one. In fact, I don't know what the pull is, but I know it's there. It's in the yearning I have to buy school supplies and the voracity with which I pore over continuing ed guides.

I don't know what I'm saying. Except I love September, the time of crisp mornings, suede boots, cozy sweaters, blue skies and fresh pages. Where they take us, only time will tell.

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