Figure Out All the Things!

Last week I learned the names of over 100 new students in the four college classes I'm teaching this semester.  I don't know what I forgot in order to make this mental space available, though.  Something had to go.  I'm sure of it.

Fall is always a season of influx and output.  New students enter, new classrooms are learned, and new routines are established.  My kids experience the same phenomenon, except that they come home with multiple worksheets that need to be signed and requests from teachers to "tell us something about your child."  (As a side note, when I'm asked to say "something" about my children, I immediately look at them as if I've never seen them before and become unable to synthesize any useful biographical or descriptive information.  Perhaps that is what I forget while assimilating 100 new names.)

At the same time, while we establish our work and school routine, I hanker to bring order to our home, too.  This weekend, for example, I noticed that our garden was making one final push, which resulted in giant batches of pesto, fresh capresi salad, several zucchini breads, and a raspberry pie.

Of course, after spending time in the garden, I also noticed that our grass needed to be cut. Two hours later as I walked through the back yard to appreciate the newly-manicured lawn, I had another thought: "Wouldn't it be nice if the inside of my house looked as good as the outside?"  Then I answered my question (because I'm a polite conversationalist, even when talking to myself): "Yes, yes it would."  I moved room to room, dusting and vacuuming, organizing and purging.

I was a woman on a mission.  I cleaned the entire house -- closets! cabinets! crannies!  -- then I looked over the uncluttered spaces and declared, "It is good."

Finally, there was a bit of order to my world.  I've learned names.  I've completed and returned paperwork.  I've cut grass, made pesto, and eaten raspberry pie.  I've cleaned the house, and it's stayed somewhat clean.  (Kids make much less mess at home when they're at school, after all.)

This process of taming and figuring out All The Things -- the garden, the grass, the house, the paperwork -- seems especially fitting during this particular season.  Even more than January, the start of school signals a fresh star.

We're at it again.  Happy New Year.

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