The Untrue But Prevailing Joy of Back-to-School Weather

Photo: Sasi Ponchaisang / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

I was at the park over the weekend when I felt it — a fragrant, earthy chill interrupting the warmth. It felt like possibility. It felt like inspiration. It felt like erasers. It felt like pens.

It felt like, oh yes — back-to-school weather.

The end of August makes people sad. I understand. Summer’s death creates a hyperawareness of what there will no longer be, which is tomatoes, etc. Pool parties and sunscreen. There is a tendency to curse the delicious coolness of summer’s end because of what it portends, which is winter, a season many dislike incorrectly. I urge you to fight against this reaction. Notice not what is leaving but what is here right now. Ahhh. Back-to-school weather.

I was never particularly good at school and always hated it very much because it sucked, but that never made back-to-school time any less thrilling. New notebooks, new subjects, new patches for my backpack, new autumnal air; a clean slate. A light sweater. The feeling that this year you might be good at math, somehow. The feeling that this year you’d actually do all of your required reading. The feeling that this year the attempt to acquire knowledge might feel as fulfilling as it seems like it should.

This was of course always untrue. You are who you are, and who me is was: bad at school. I hated it so much. God, it sucked.

Yet the pleasant back-to-school feeling prevails, somehow. The brisk air lends the feeling of being given another chance. A reset. Now is your time; now you will hunker down and really do it. Breathe in — ahh, yes. Back- to-school weather.

That you will change now and really do it is, of course, also likely untrue. (Though you are likely already doing it better than you can understand in the moment.) But maybe now you can do it with a renewed inspiration, at least until Thanksgiving. Ahh. Can you feel it?

Do not merely dread the end of summer — PLEASE! Delight in this moment of chilliness that comes in the morning and at night. Remember what it felt like to be joyfully, blissfully, inspiringly wrong about how you were going to do well in school this year. Go outside and breathe. Do not shield yourself from summer’s end. Feel the chill and allow it to delight your physical senses and awaken the thinking part of your mind. Ahhhhh. Back-to-school weather.

The Untrue But Prevailing Joy of Back-to-School Weather