September = Back to….

photo by Jenna Starr

It’s September, pretty much, and all-the-sudden. I feel the lure of “back-to-school” as surely as the tide pulls the sea back towards the glimmering moon. But I am not going back-to-school, I haven’t gone back-to-school in September for years. Isn’t it amazing, how integrated into our systems is the seasonal rhythm of our lives and our (cultural? national? sociological?) rituals? So many of us are not going back-to-school, and yet September still has a pull, a bittersweetness. The fresh calendar page of September can be a prodding, subtle messenger of transition and shifting, of return and newness, both. What will this year hold? Who will be in our circle, who will we be and who will we see in our lives, the way most of us once did when we gathered in something like “Homeroom”?

I took a 1/4-time job recently, coordinating the Coming of Age program for a thriving local humanist congregation, and it’s fascinating to me how delighted I am to be working again. Just that much: 10 hours a week or so, just a bit, and that is plenty for me and my family right now as far as my more spread-out energies — but it is also just enough to feel a part of something beyond our family, a part of a community and of the flow of the year, the year that involves returning, as we do, to our communities and routines, at the end of the summer.

I know there will still be some more hot, summery days here in D.C. I know that I have lots and lots of sometimes-tedious, sometimes-luscious unscheduled days with our Little Bean ahead. I know that there are many other people out there whose lives don’t shift all that much with the turning of the calendar page. I know I now have more of the juggling to do — life and home, household chores and work responsibilities, the daily tasks and the larger witnessing to the world and acting as best as I can. It actually matters again that I check my e-mail at least every day. And, what I notice most is that having a foot dangling in the water of our larger world is surprisingly exhilarating to me. I feel like I am more a part of the stream of life. As things get going, as all the “back-to-school” energy picks up around us, with students in school uniforms making their way in this direction and that, with school buses suddenly popping up again in front of me at every stoplight, I feel glad and grateful to be a part of that stream, in my own way, part of a community of people who observes the turning already of just a few leaves and feels the certain calling of fall.

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