Fall is the new year.
When the shifting sun changes the angle of light falling across the desks, dust motes dancing in the afternoon, and the cool evenings whisk summer away, that’s when the new year begins.
When the bulletin boards are covered with fresh sheets of unfaded colored paper cut from large rolls, cool and smooth to the touch, waiting for the first pin-pricks of stapled projects, that’s the new year.
Before the windows fill with bumpy with minty paste and art projects smelling of earthy tempera paints, before the linoleum-covered counter tops become crowded with social studies projects on foreign lands, before the edges of the cursive name plates on the desks darken with grime and pencil and begin to curl…
That is the new year I recognize.
New crop apples. New metal lunch boxes with characters from toys or Saturday morning cartoons. New clothes. New folders, new pencils and pens, new three-ring binders with new lined paper. New seat mates and new clusters. New teachers and a new grade. New friends and alliances, new places in the lunch room, new rules on the playground.
The harvest of new in the fall is abundant.
My new year celebrates the balance between dark and light, promises second chances and first starts. My new year slows down to notice the changing leaves, the cloud-dappled sunsets, the last-minute hibernators and retiring annuals. The colors of my new year are yellows, browns, and oranges against a deepening blue.
Fall begins my new year.