not quite back to school

Small piles of leaves grow in the nooks and crannies throughout the town at the moment. There are no fireworks yet. The early fallen tend to be a dull shade of yellow or simply faded green. The fireworks won't be for awhile, yet. A month, maybe longer. I noticed the leaves just as I noticed I needed a jumper and something waterproof to wear over it.

As a kid I remember my clothes suddenly being different. My shorts and t-shirts would move to other drawers, if they still fit. Often they didn't. Blue jeans and khakis and sweaters and my faithful barracuda jacket would come out for the autumn. My barracuda jacket was navy blue and I wore it until the first snow. What with growth spurts and the like I'm sure I had more than one during the course of my childhood. I'm pretty sure that as well as a navy blue one, I had a khaki one. Probably during my Indiana Jones phase.

That phase hasn't really ended yet.

I remember the autumn stationery frenzy. How excitement for the new school year centred around new pens and pencils and pencil cases and notebooks and trapper keepers and backpacks. The crisp sheen on new paper, a new favourite pen, that perfect point on a pencil that only came from the first sharpening, and never afterwards.

Seeing everyone for the first time and trying desperately to make your summer sound better than theirs. Hating anyone, even your best friend, if they travelled further and did more. Loving the look in their eyes when your stories of summer adventure brought a wide-eyed hush, followed by an onslaught of incredulous questions.

Then classes started and everything stayed the same. Everything new became old and used and tethered to the mundanity of grade school routine. Summer quickly fell into the shadows of memory, with little need for recall. Someone else was playing in the World Series.

Autumn had its own adventures. I remember sitting in an upturned apple crate, eating an improbably large cinnamon and apple cookie, having just ridden on a tractor through an orchard, staring out towards the rows of trees and the fireworks of the forest just beyond. I don't remember what I thought at the time. Probably just how fucking awesome that improbably large cinnamon and apple cookie tasted.

I used to kick the leaf piles that grew in the nooks and crannies of Beacon Hill, listening to them scuffle and scrape along the brick sidewalks.

In Scotland this year they're too wet to kick and memories of the summer are simply mourning for a lost season, a season that never came.

Instead of new stationery, I have a new suit. And nothing really seems to be the same.

It's familiar.

But not the same.