School starts next week. The weather has been decidedly cooler, wetter, and windier with that specific nip and scent that brings to mind sharpened pencils, dusty library books, Simon and Garfunkel, hot tea, and tights worn with woolen skirts and scarves.
It is on days like these that I miss being in school. I loved school after the first three difficult years when I struggled to navigate the complex social scene of third, fourth, and fifth grade and I spent more time daydreaming than actually completing or turning in assignments. I had been homeschooled up until the middle of third grade and it took three years for me to finally understand the school thing. In sixth grade, with the inevitable flood of hormones, I came to the incredibly incorrect conclusion that boys, especially junior high boys, would be impressed with good grades. Suddenly my C’s and D’s turned in to straight A’s, which I mostly kept up all through high school and college. Relying on the “good grades” method of attracting boys also ensured that I had very few dates.
This time of year I miss going to college at Whitworth in Spokane and its three month long autumns. I miss falling into piles of golden, orange, and red leaves with my friends, going on hayrides through pumpkin fields and wandering through corn mazes, drinking apple cider and listening to a priest read Edgar Allen Poe on Halloween. I miss the late night discussions, the always room for one more at the table in the Hub, the assemblies singing Be Thou My Vision and attending Core classes taught by Professor Sittser.
As the season changes, though I miss going to school and my dear college friends, I am content with my little life here in Alaska. Though the leaves will turn colors, mostly brown and fall within a few weeks, and then we have months of brown and cold before the snow falls; though I’m not going to school, buying horribly over priced books and sitting in wrapped attention in Professor Waller’s class; though I am terribly missing my Whitworth friends and staying up late nights discussing love and life, I am content to buy school clothes and supplies for my kiddo who is just starting high school this year. I am content to work daily at a job that is vilified on Craigslist and on Facebook, which my education at Whitworth prepared me for in some ways, but in other ways no amount of education can ever prepare someone for. I am content to come home to my husband and friends, light a candle, sip some tea, and put on some Simon and Garfunkel and remember.