Saturday, August 15, 2009


I wonder, at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning, where this post will land.

I am awake, again and still. No real reason why. My brain hasn't fixed on one thing, the thing that has me awake and troubled - rather it flits through things. Page after page of small anxiety: there is a perpetual laundry basket on my unfurnished bedroom's floor, my office has some papers that have been on the desk a year, our garage is a bit too full of unfiltered clutter, and Annabeth didn't read enough this summer.

A couple of undisciplined hours of non-musing of that sort, and I found myself here. I went through phone pictures and came upon this one, from the summer. Mid-summer, with family, on the Bay, that I wrote about in July. I like it.

It looks like change, this picture. The green of grass, the brown of cut wheat. It looks like human imprint on nature, of protected agricultural space in an area near water - always in danger of being over-developed. It looks, to me, like quiet and someone else's property line (which I know it to be), and it looks like 8:30 in a morning with no real agenda and a desire to push through to the end of a run (also, which I know it to be.)

As of Wednesday of this week, the rest of us will all have Somewhere to be. The older two start school - with backpacks too loaded for their size and homework assignments. Expectations - theirs for a new year, and those thrust upon them by the rest of us. First and fourth grades. Lofty stuff.

Gavin will minister guidance and reassurances to the older set at the same school- those anxious to leave, and the parents that watch them go. I will marvel at that process and wonder about when our kids are that age - if knowing the college process, if being on the periphery of so many teenagers (between football and college counseling... around 100/year... for 20 years - give or take - thousands of kids...) will make it any easier for us when ours matriculate.

Of course, it won't. Not really.

For my littles, it is the special new that is the beginning of a school year. The new that is specific to elementary school: sharpened pencils and book bags with zippers that still stick a little. Scuffless shoes, and sharp haircuts. Skin still warm from extra sun. Brains that fell so easily into not-so-much, now creakily trying to grab hold of words from new teachers' mouths. School lunches on little green trays at weird hours of the morning. Friends not seen in months to whisper to from desks still perfectly ordered.

They all just live here. And for those parents of now teens, their kids live there for even shorter. The littles - more and more as they grow - believe themselves to be wholly separate from us. We know different.. but for this to work, we have to pretend we agree with their version of things.

We are all of us always on the edge of something. For me now, the edge of sleep. The edge of another day. The edge of a new week, and the edge of a new year. The periphery of other lives led, influencer and influenced. I will shuffle them off to school at 7:30 each day. And for a few days - the silence will alternately welcome and confuse me.


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