Friday, September 4, 2009
First week of school, and I've been thinking how, for more-or-less fifty years, the school calendar's provided a structure to my year, that first week of September (give or take a bit) marking a new start, a re-energizing, a setting out. I took a few years off, in my twenties, doing other things, but for nearly all my life September's been the time of fresh beginnings. By now it feels like the academic calendar inheres in the structure of time itself; first shift in the weather, I want some new shoes, a new bag to carry my books and papers to school. As a kid in Memphis and Tucson, I bought big fat-lined pads of paper; I liked that they were called "tablets" because it echoed the slabs of Babylonian clay in my favorite archaeology book. This semester I have a new laptop, courtesy of Rutgers, but the pleasure is essentially the same: something fresh and pretty much empty to write on.