14 August 2012

The Longest Sunday

State Fair commercials began last week. If you've been here before, suffice it to say you know how I feel about the MN State Fair.

August is not my least favorite month--that distinction belongs to the dark, cold months of November and January (sometimes February, too. The promise of presents is the only thing that saves December). But August is a peculiar month in the mind of teachers. Let me explain.

I think all working people understand the dread that accompanies Sundays. It's a joyous day because there's no work--it's technically a weekend--but at about 5pm, it suddenly becomes a "school night." We must go to bed early and behave like adults so we can get up early the next morning and begin the grind of the work week. It's an irritable sort of day.

August is just one long Sunday.

Make no mistakes, I love my job. I truly do. My students are amazing and challenging and make me laugh. My colleagues are the best a girl could possibly ask for and have gotten me through many tough days--work related or not. I am living out one of my dreams--I am a teacher--and I know how lucky I am. I do not take it for granted. But there is something glorious in a Minnesotan summer.

Minnesota is, to most people (especially those who have not been here) a cold place. They have never had the joy of the three other seasons. Yes, they do exist, though they can be somewhat short. But summer, summer is the reason a place like Minnesota exists.

There is nothing better than summer in the land of 10,000 (technically 14,000, as all true Minnesotans know) lakes. Sunlight spins out the hours, the light fading well after 9pm during the longest days. The temperature climbs into the 80s and 90s for weeks at at time. The heat becomes hazy, the days languid. Time itself seems to slow down. Unless you've had to enjoy a summer here, it's impossible to explain the sadness inherent in its passing.

Perhaps it's because, as I've explained before, August is the end of a year for me, the passing of time that (as I am trying desperately to deny I am getting older) is becoming harder and harder to accept for me. But that's another--much more melancholy--entry. For now, all I care about is that August is sprinting by, summer is receding into the distance, and at night, autumn is most definitely in the air, crisp and stinging.

Yes, like Sundays, there is a glory to be had in August and the freedom it supplies. But it is tempered by the sadness of the ending it signals. Perhaps there is a freedom in endings.

Perhaps.

But my longest Sunday is ending, and I must enjoy the freedom while I can.