There were new outfits – who cared that the day before I was running around barefoot in shorts and a summer tee? School was starting and that meant kilts or wool blazers or new pullovers.
There were friends to catch up with. The atmosphere aboard the bus would be electric; as if we hadn’t all just seen each other that weekend at the pool or Sunday School or the corner store. We would carry on as if there were years of news to share.
There were blank Hilroy notebooks neatly labeled for each subject, freshly sharpened HBs and a perfectly even row of Laurentian coloured pencils. I would meticulously arrange the contents of my desk with everything at the ready should inspiration strike.
Never mind that within a mere weeks, I’d have a snag in my new sweater, my notebook would be covered in doodles, there would be tooth marks on my pencils from my nervous habit and my desk would be overflowing with looseleaf pages, old assignments and overdue library books.
But for that one morning in September, everything was brand new. Everything was perfect. And anything was possible.
It’s been 28 years since the first time I got on a yellow school bus. Children who weren’t born when I left high school are graduating this year. But when that first full week of September rolls around I still feel that sense of newness and perfection and possibility.
I was never much for making resolutions on January 1. To start anything new in January seems to me to be a fight against nature. Winter is hitting full force, the mercury is dropping and everyone’s exhausted from the whirl of holiday celebrations. In January, you don’t want “new”, you want familiarity – a treasured book and a down comforter… your mom’s beef stew…hot chocolate in your favourite pottery mug.
But September, oh glorious September! The sun is still warm but the air has a new crispness to it. Everyone is (hopefully!) refreshed from holidays. The nights are cool and even the stars are more sharply drawn into focus.
This is a season of change; a time to ready your home, your head and your spirit for the months ahead.
This is a season of possibility with new opportunities, new adventures stretching out before you.
This season of blank pages, sharpened pencils and fresh starts? This is my New Year.