Seeing my breath

This morning I headed out my front door in suburban southeast PA, and I could see my breath.  According to my dashboard, it was 52º F at 6:30am.  If you are ever so unfortunate as to spend any length of time in my presence, you will know that I don’t like being hot at all, and that I would prefer that there be only two seasons: autumn and winter.  The chilly air was quite invigorating, and I zipped up my fleece and rolled down the windows as I zipped along the winding roads out to 309.
I used to hate the autumn when I was young, because I loved playing hockey and wiffleball all summer but hated school.  When I got to college and realized that I actually liked learning, I began to appreciate the other aspects of autumn.  I love tossing the football in the backyard with friends; I love watching the World Series (unless, like last year, I detest both teams).  I love the new school year, with fresh possibilities and undiscovered truths–welcome renewal of the mind after a hot, busy summer of work and travel.
This will be the first September in quite a long time that I will not be heading “back to school.”  My dissertation proposal has been submitted, and now I’m working on a few other research projects.  But there will be no first day of class, with new books,  friends old and new, and a fresh GPA.  There will be no “first day of school” photo of my wife, as there have been for the previous twenty-one Septembers: K-12, then five years of college, and finally three years as a teacher.
Remember when you first learned to ride a bike?  Your dad ran alongside your bike as you got moving, and then you looked back for a second–and he was thirty feet behind you!  I fear that formal education too often convinces us that we cannot learn without training wheels or a parent huffing and puffing beside us.  My graduate education taught me how to study and love learning on my own, for its own sake–not simply as a means to an end.  I hope and pray that I can “keep riding” sans training wheels in this next season of life.

About Benj

I’m a native North Jerseyan, living and learning in Eastern Europe…Old Testament professor, ordained minister, occasional liturgist…husband to Corrie…father to Daniel and Elizabeth.
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5 Responses to Seeing my breath

  1. tori winn says:

    I love chilly fall CRISP weather as well! This could very well be the last autumn to experience it, so I am so excited! bittersweet more like it.

    Great insights!


    • thinkhardthinkwell says:

      Thanks Tori! I hope this is your last autumn in the States for a while–because that would mean you’re in the field next year.

      Are you going to come see my band play at PBU tonight?

  2. Corrie Giffone says:

    I just miss back-to-school shopping. Although I don’t know- do homeschoolers do back-to-school shopping for supplies? I got a list of supplies each summer so I could show up on the first day and find out who’s parents loved them enough to buy them the big crayon box with the built-in sharpener or the water colors with two columns of color choices and not just one. And I would try on all my fall and winter clothes with the hope that I needed new stuff. It was fun. Maybe I need a new box of crayons this year just because.

  3. RickyV says:

    I had that same September withdrawal last year. It is a weird feeling for sure…23 years of the same routine and then you’re done! Enjoy it!

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