And so summer winds down with a clanging, lackluster downshift of the motor, much like a wind-up toy that had previously been happily, colorfully bouncing about with glee and novelty....it has lost its speed, run out of time, and now its little legs slow down, twitching as with rigor mortis, as if to say "REWIND! REWIND!" Oh, if only I had the power of "rewind," on more fronts than just the passing-of-summer one. Not in the usual sense of do-overs, mind you, but more in the way that I want to rotate the noisy little turnkey and give more power and gumption to the beauty and vibrance that makes it spring into motion. It goes so very quickly, regardless of how many "now THIS is summer!" moments I've had. I don't expect sympathy from anyone -- teachers have it MADE as far as holidays go -- but this does not diminish the difficulty in switching gears from Free Woman to Art Teacher.
Again, permit me to say that I can hear all of you righteous 9-to-5-ers out there, cursing me and the days of freedom I have enjoyed and relished. Fair enough. But if you could only experience, first-hand, the extreme amount of energy and willpower it requires to handle the dangerous alchemy that occurs when sixteen small children and lots of paint are put in the same room, daily...you would understand, as I have come to understand, that those of us who have been blessed with ten free summer weeks have steadily, faithfully, lip-bitingly earned every bit. I shall presently step down from my soapbox.
August has brought promises of classroom preparation and planning to be done, and this is the first year (the beginning of my fourth) where I do not have the feeling of being dragged by my feet, fingernails scratching in the dust, clamoring for something to hold on to. I look forward to seeing my colleagues once more, as they are some of the finest, most earnest, devoted, FUN people I could ever hope to work alongside. It feels good to succumb more and more easily to this new life as an educator.
August has also brought terrible, oppressive, sweltering, anger-inducing, mood-altering heat. OH, this heat... Is it God's way of giving us a foretaste of what Hell would be like? "My little children, obey your Father....do you really want to live in an eternity of THIS??" It scorches the grass to a drab brown, burns the entire garden's contents (or at least the edges of the leaves), it makes driving my truck (no A/C) a less enjoyable experience than usual which I do not appreciate, and it leaves me largely uninspired and languishing. Even the cat is unusually sluggish.
On a happier front, August has brought the new house in which I will soon reside along with one of my best friends (since fifth grade, to be exact). Moving day is swiftly approaching. I will soon be busying myself with this-and-that painting projects, poring over countless magazines, and trying to figure out what in the Sam Hill to do with the dark green marble print formica on the kitchen countertops, a challenge I will take strange delight in meeting. I'll be back in my darling little Sylvan Park neighborhood, up the street just a short stroll from where I was before. I have this goal in mind to ride my bike to school when it begins, but August with its sweltering heat strikes again and has rendered it impossible for the time being. Stupid month.
August is only good for a handful of things I can think of, one of the precious few being the Tomato Art Fest in East Nashville. (www.tomatoartfest.com) I remember clearly the day that Meg MacFadyen of Art and Invention Gallery said, "Evie, I've got this idea..." The rest is tomato history, and now the fourth annual is upon us! It has blossomed beautifully into a widely attended and celebrated community affair. Watching Meg's brainchild grow and develop has been inspiring. I dropped off my three tomato-based art pieces last week in a tizzy and, therefore, forgot to photograph them. I suppose that means, dear reader, that if you're within driving range, you'll have to come see them for yourselves. Click on aforementioned web address for more information.
I'm sure August is good for more than a tomato fest, but I'm sure not able to put my finger on it, especially as I attempt to enjoy a breakfast alfresco with sweat dripping in places I never imagined possible. The pleasure of my huckleberry mango yogurt concoction has taken a back seat to this unpleasant sensation. I am having a serious inner monologue about the idea of making a run to Home Depot for a kiddie pool. That's not a joke.
Folks, stay cool. I'll do my best not to melt and you do the same...see you on the eventually-milder flipside.