School’s back in.
Fall isn’t technically here yet, but I can feel it coming.
When I was a child, Labour Day was always a sad day. It indicated the changeover between the lovely, sunny days of summer and the slow, inevitable slide into winter (which I hated even then). Labour Day was, in some ways, like a Sunday on steroids… instead of a mildly bummed out, the-night-before-Monday blues day, Labour Day was a majorly depressed, the-night-before-another-school-year blues day.
I was pretty indifferent to school as a kid. I didn’t hate it, like many of my friends did, but I didn’t love it either. So as the clock ticked down on my last days of summer holidays, I became increasingly wistful, until I spent most of Labour Day moping about the end of my favourite time of year, both weather-wise and freedom-wise. Sleeping that night was always hard because I knew that the every aspect of my life would change for the next ten months; that everything would be filled with chores and obligations, alarm clocks and early bedtimes.
Who knew when I graduated from high school that I would spend most of the next 25 years of my life repeating this process every September? But I did. Through four years of university and then more than a dozen years as a teacher, I have relived this Labour Day/Sad Day ritual. Perhaps that was not surprising during my working years; it does surprise me, though, that I still feel that way now when I am a student again in a program that I truly enjoy. I thought that Labour Day would have less impact when the thing I was returning to was something I enjoyed and that I had chosen to do for myself. Strangely nothing has changed. I still hate Labour Day. I still greet it with dread and sadness. It doesn’t matter that I love my studies or that the weather is still pretty decent here in Edmonton (23°C today). It doesn’t matter that I don’t have to go to classes every day like I did as a teacher. I still feel like Labour Day is a light switch that flips the world from summer to fall and turns out the lights on freedom and fun.
Nearly a week has passed since Labour Day, but my melancholy has not passed. I see signs all around me that summer is really behind us. The sun doesn’t come up as early in the morning. The grass is cold with dew in the mornings. The leaves that were deep, lush green two weeks ago are turning a pale yellowy green or are full-on yellow already. The sun dips below the horizon earlier now, and with it the temperature quickly cools. All signs tell me that winter is not very far away, and it’s approaching closer day by day.
It’s times like these when I wish I had a time machine; I wish I could rewind the summer, go back to June and start my favourite season all over again. Or fast forward past winter to land on the next summer. But I can’t. Instead, like everyone else, I guess I will have to start counting down the days until Christmas. Sigh.