It has been a month since we passed the Summer Solstice and this morning was the first time I cognitively noticed the shortened days. I took a pill last night, and slept well and late. In the darkness of the early morning, my phone chimed to signify a conversation window had been opened (probably that PITA of Denmark, +Adrianna Joleigh). What surprised me was, that it was after 6 a.m. and the sun had not yet brightened the August sky. Yes, the days have begun to shorten and that can only mean one thing: the school buses will be back.
I seem to remember summer vacation from school lasting until September, but not anymore, today is the first day of school in the adjoining county of Buncombe (so named because in 1845 a politician offered a speech of such arcane "bunkum" that his district was forever designated in his honor). I have no desire to research the start date for Haywood County (birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, really, look it up); it will happen soon enough. Before you ask, no, I do not have any school-aged children, nor do I live near an academic institution of governmental acculturation, so you might wonder why I care.
As you know, I live high on a mountain and must drive down a sizable grade to retrieve my mail on a daily basis. The ride has become the embodiment of pleasure in my dog’s life. The mail arrives at the box between 2:15 and 3:00 p.m. each afternoon. Sebastian (my dog) has decided that 3:00 p.m. is the best time to fetch “Daddy” and herd him into the truck for “the ride.” Now many days, if not most, there will be one or more checks in the mail that require our short downhill trip to extend up the four-lane and into town. It isn’t all that far, but by the time we negotiate the varied streets and roads necessary to drop a deposit off at the credit union, and if need be, stop by a grocer for any needed provisions, the roundtrip journey takes roughly 30 - 45 minutes. And as Shakespeare said, therein lies the rub.
Somewhere around 3:30, a trio of age delineated school buses turns back the country road that leads to the rural lane that leads to the mountain trail and the only ingress to my secluded home. Improperly timed, the offloading school buses can add as much as a half hour to my daily jaunt. I don’t begrudge the riders or the drivers, and I always offer both a friendly smile and wave in my impatience to get back to the house where nothing of importance is awaiting. Why is it that humans are always in a hurry to get nowhere and never in a hurry to leave?
School buses portend a change in the season: soon we will be enjoying late summer vegetables, early fall apples and peaches, and those first brisk evenings spent in front of a roaring fire. We are all anticipating the climatic shift with varied degrees of joy and sorrow. For me, the summer has been quite cool here on the mountain, so unlike some who might be anxiously awaiting some respite from the heat and humidity, I’d much rather enjoy an extended summer of hummingbirds, fireflies, and the orchestral night sounds of insects. But I shouldn't forget my friends in Australia and South Africa, who like flies on the ceiling are gripping the ground trying not to fall off the bottom of the globe, their seasons, like everything else on their side of the world, are upside down. They are trending away from the cold and into the heat. As my fall approaches, my topsy-turvy friends are anticipating their spring. Good news +Nariman Parker, +Rea de Miranda, +Francine Hirst and all my other friends struggling to maintain their grip on the bottom, the school buses are back, spring is on the way! Be careful, no happy dances, you might fall off.