New Beginnings–an import from my Cowbird story collection

Labor Day always reminds me of the end of summer (well, everyone is reminded of that!) but the beginning of school. OK, that is shared by many as well. But for people like me, we have never left school. I teach at the college level so I am anxiously awaiting the beginning of the fall semester. For most of my life September marks the beginning of a new academic year.
When I was young, I was the student, looking forward to new books, new teachers, new adventures, if some years a bit more apprehensively than others. Now I am on the other side of the desk and am wondering who will be in my classes and what will we explore together. I still get new books and supplies, some new clothes. But now I get the lists of new students and I always enter the classroom full of hope and promise, and excitement.
I love the quick shift here in the Northeast from sultry summer to crystal clear fall days.* For me autumn is the season of evolution–evolution into new ideas and new people, but always tinged by the touch of sadness. Time moves on and autumn so clearly, and gloriously, reminds us of that fact. Even as it relentlessly carries us towards the darkness of winter, it does so with a spectacular array of colors and e-ray days .
So, I anticipate the new academic year which begins right after Labor Day as I stand on the dock, waiting for the ferry to cross over the Sound and return me to the world of ideas and to the students who will surely look up from their cell phone and muse as to why I get so excited about mediaeval universals and the idea that one could prove the existence of God simply by thinking about it.
*If you are wondering why there is an asterisk next to the comment about clear fall days, here in New York we have the still raw memories of the events on 9/11/01. That day was the quintessential fall day: clear, bright, sunny, perfect. Until it was not. A “9/11 day” reminds us of the ephemeral nature of life. But let us focus instead on new beginnings and a new school year.
To any reader who is returning to school, in whatever guise, good luck! Then again, are we not all in school simply by living in the world?
And now you can decide what the bat image means…