The first day of school is looming and I’m sitting out on my porch, watching my two youngest sons beat the hell out of each other. Oh, it’s not serious. They’re laughing and tackling and trying to strangle each other. I think a ball might be involved.
It’s a cool gray day in August and I’ve got that old Autumnal feeling, that old September feeling, left over from school days, of Summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air. Another fall, another turned page. There is something of jubilee in the annual Autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.
Thanks to the recent rains, the weather is pleasant and almost cool… a premonition for the holiday season. I’ve been sitting on the porch thinking, my senses a dim rushlight, pondering the coming days. While we’ve tried to live as deliberate and intentionally lax summertime as possible, the rubric of the coming days has grown to demand our earnest preparation. There is so much to do, so much to prepare for, so much to accomplish.
Are we ready for it? Of course not. We never are.
Nevertheless, I’m optimistic. My family has made considerable progress from this time last year. Our household is more or less situated. Our children’s academic calendars are set. While there are certainly some obstacles we’ve got to find solutions for, I am confident we will do so. This summer has been good for us.
Summer is the perfect metaphor for childhood — golden, intangible, fleeting. When I was little, I used to put my hand out the car window and try to “grab air.” I really believed that I could hold onto a piece of air, but inevitably it would always slip through my hands.
Even to this day, I sometimes find myself with my hand out the window, reaching for something but grasping nothing, still believing that I might be able to hold the air, even for just a moment, always forgetting that you can’t hold onto that air any more than you can grab hold of a moment.
You just have to be in it, and embrace the only thing you can embrace: that the moment — like summer, like childhood, like the time to do all the nothing you want — will slip right through our hands.