Closing and Opening: An August Aubade

Watching the sky grow slowly dark this evening, clouds low over the hills, the sun swung around a little further toward the west. It’s nearly the end of August. The long Labor Day weekend. Typically, I would be in Pennsylvania preparing to return to the community college classroom to teach research writing to undergraduates. Instead I’m in north central Washington preparing for the start of the elementary school year.

Instead of working on course outlines and boning up on race-based incarceration rates, I spent the day talking about an interdisciplinary curriculum that ties together our recent fires and the nature of our community. I revised a teacher contract, then after updating our Facebook page, I tore down some old wall board in the school’s kitchen while waiting for the electricians to finish their upgrades to our lighting and outlets so I could vacuum and clean the carpets.

It was nice to be alone finally. Vacuuming is gratifying work, and wet cleaning is even more so. It felt good to do something so physical. To be able to see some signs of progress in the lines of darker gray in our well worn carpet, trod over the years by many small feet.

Small feats. One day at a time. Moment by moment. Life is unfolding. Slowly the trees are changing their garb. The hills are growing a bit more golden in contrast, and the sunlight is softer. It was only seventy-seven degrees today. I had to put on a sweatshirt before dinner. I’m tired. My arms ache. It feels great.

So long August, named for a great emperor. Eighth month. We’re on the cusp of a new season. I’m grateful to have been carried here by each day’s small moments. What will the ninth month bear?

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