I woke up far too early. I could have slept for an additional hour but the thoughts of my overflowing inbox clogged my mind. After a week away from work, I had the undesirable task of returning to work. For all the rest one can get on vacation, the first week returning to the office is by far the worst and doubly exhausting. Not only were my thoughts plagued by my inbox, but I was beginning my fifth graduate school course.
I lay flat on by back, staring at the ceiling and looking at how the white was more of a gray in the early morning light. The sun hadn’t risen yet, or was near rising, or perhaps it just had. I can tell the time of the year based on the location of the sun while I drive to work and after a week and a half, I’m sure the sun shifted all the more on the horizon and was due to rise later than in July.
After some time, I gave up the fight and got to my feet. I logged on, focused my attention on my work, and only took a break to prepare food and get dressed for the day. As four o’clock approached, I waited impatiently to log off.
The first day of class is either something I look forward to or dread. This past term was a struggle with overwhelming amounts of work and continuous exhaustion. A mere week off wasn’t enough and I was not very interested in my newest class–studying the history of the English language and how it “works”–but I was determined to retrieve my focus.
I have noticed over the past few years of taking both graduate school courses and certification classes that it’s hard to get interested in school work and feel that new class vibe in the middle of summer. I’m not built on that mentality. I grew up in the Northern Hemisphere. I began school in September as the leaves were changing and the air was crisp until the sun fought its way to prominence by afternoon. That type of weather is purely school weather for me. In college, chilly winter became school weather as well as the spring semester began in late January.
I hadn’t realized how badly I was hoping for a cool, cloudy day until this day became just that. This may be another attempt from autumn to grab hold of the region. It has its fingertips just in sight and it’s brushed over the area, nails scraping the land, and what’s left behind are lazy clouds and temperatures in the 70s. It’ll be gone by tomorrow, but often that’s how it is in August. Eventually, the number of days that are of this temperature begin to grow until it’s a constant.
Dressing in boots, shorts, a tank top, and a loose sweater, I packed my bag and drove to the local Starbucks. My country for a mom and pop coffee shop, but this is the land of politicians and fast paced workmanship. We have Starbucks here and it’s hard to find anything else. But our local one is small, quiet, and welcoming. The baristas cheerful and striking up conversations with the locals.
Slipping into a chair by the window, I withdrew my laptop and school books; plugging my ear buds into my ears and finding soft music, I allowed myself to breathe out. There was the familiarity of school days; the scratch of a pen against paper, the smell of the fresh pages of a school book and highlighters, the clipping of fingers over laptop keys. The drink to accompany was a hot chai and the snack a scone. The hazy clouds made the world have a cool brightness I wasn’t entirely fond of but still preferred to the sunshine that briefly filtered through. It was while sitting here with my cooling coffee clutched between my hands, that I noticed the trees that line the parking lot had different hues of green. Another sign for fall, the varying shades.
All day I was searching for the feeling of autumn, that taste of back to school, the sense that is deep in my muscle memory that now is the time to learn things anew and do homework…and there it was…all at my finger tips.