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Averyt: Swan Song of Summer

09/12/11 5:55PM By Anne Averyt
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(HOST) It's September, and for Commentator Anne Averyt that means the start of the school year, even though it's been a long time since she last lined up for classes.

(AVERYT) The freight train of fall is barreling down the tracks right now. The scent of September is heavy in the air.

Somehow I never seem to outgrow the school calendar. Summer officially starts for me in mid-June when schools shut their doors - even though half a century has passed since I walked out of Rowland Elementary and into the summer air of suburban Philadelphia.

In the same way, the rite of summer's passing is marked by the end of August's aria and the crooning of September's song.

The cadence of the school calendar seems to set the pace for our entire lives. No matter what the Gregorian calendar says, summer only stretches from mid-June to early September. The holidays we look forward to are the memories of childhood freedom - Thanksgiving , Christmas , Presidents Day, spring break. Time past carries us into time present, or as TS Elliot said, " Footfalls echo in memory - time future is contained in time past" . At least that's how it feels to me.

I still think of fall as it smelled to a teenager running the school hockey fields. I still hear the roar of the partisan hometown fans at the Friday afternoon football game and I still cruise in memory with my friends, riding through town, horns blaring, declaring victory.

Right now in my back yard, the white wild roses are blooming again, singing their swan song of summer. In my front yard the fall hydrangeas are growing fat, infusing the air with a sweet scent as I approach the door. I know autumn's come. For the school kids, fall carries the promise of a new year, while for me in the autumn of my years it is a wistful harbinger of snows soon to flurry and the approach of long months of house arrest, nestled in front of the wood stove of winter.

It is, as Carly Simon sang, all about anticipation - about looking forward, about the crisp air of change. But I've already shifted my mental focus to things like cleaning up the garden and cleaning out the attic. My car trunk is stuffed with old necessities earmarked for the autumn church yard sale.

My life moves forward along with the seasons. Although my children no longer wait at the corner for the school bus and I no longer run the hockey field, the school bell still rings out in early September reminding me - it's time to get dressed and ready for a new year.
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