Front door opens—
sweet scent of cut grass.
First time I noticed.
It is summer, officially, even if the calendar doesn’t agree, even if the weather itself doesn’t agree. The steely clouds and cold temperatures make me feel like I am at a camp in the north woods of my home state, and the air holds the same yearning for warmth. But that in itself is a sign to me of summer.
And it is truly summer.
Kids are out of school. I forced them to stop on the front porch for a picture on the last day, even though we were running a little late. They still stun me with their beauty, with the fact that we belong to each other, with the fact that they are growing and growing. I am convinced the picture itself was beautiful, but it did not turn out—I’ve maxed out the storage on my device of choice and when I went back to look at what I’d captured after getting everyone to school there was nothing there but black. I haunted Facebook that day, full of regret, but in the end there were my kids, older and wiser, even without the smiling visual proof of having made it through the year.
That surprise lingers through the first days of summer vacation—that we made it. That the kids are older. I have tried noticing it day by day—that they are growing, that we are getting through each day in one piece—but it only ever comes as a surprise. This happens with my students, too. You go along steadily, both expecting and not-expecting change, and there—suddenly—it sneaks up on you: these children are taller. Their hair is longer. They are figuring some things out. There are things about them I know better, now, and other things I don’t. I sense changes in myself, as well (when I remember, I am taller too, maybe.) Like that scent of fresh-cut grass you always but never noticed. I love these surprises and will keep looking for them, all summer long. And they will keep being surprises, no matter how hard I look.
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