Friday, September 8, 2017

Start of a New Year

Written by  Jim Nakoneshny

It's the start of a New Year!

Well, maybe not a new calendar year. But to me, the beginning of September has always felt much more like the dawn of a new year than January 1st ever did. There is a newfound energy as the lazy days of summer are put behind us. The signs of renewal are everywhere.

As a kid there was of course the start of a new school year and all of the excitement that revolved around that. We had new clothes, new shoes, new books, new crayons. Chances are you’d make some new friends depending on how your class seating plan was arranged. The school floors were freshly waxed, sometimes walls had been painted or new construction had occurred. Almost certainly you’d have a new teacher. After 2 months apart everyone looked a bit different. Some kids had grown taller, some had braces or new glasses, a few had different haircuts. The hierarchy of the hallways and playground had shifted as everyone was now one grade higher.

Growing up on a farm, September also meant harvest. Although technically this signalled the end of a growing season, in reality the hope of a bountiful crop always spelled promise. Of course a good harvest would mean that bills could be paid, plans could be made - perhaps the family car or truck could be replaced this year. After school, us kids would change into work clothes and head out to help get the crop in. As a younger child, this sometimes meant running messages back and forth from the house to the farmyard (in the days before cell phones or radios), or maybe fetching tools. As I grew older I would often climb into the old wooden grain bins to spread the newly harvested grain as it was augered in through the hatch in the roof. (I can still feel the itch of barley all these years later.)

At supper time, a hot meal would be packed into the pickup truck and driven out to those working late in the fields. If you’ve never eaten fried chicken, new potatoes, fresh bread, garden vegetables and corn-on-the-cob off of an open tailgate in the middle of a field, with a hint of grain dust in the air and the sounds of autumn on the breeze, you have missed one of the great pleasures of life!

September was also when the new TV shows would premiere (for us, on one of the two TV channels: CBC or CTV). Teenaged boys waited in anticipation for the new car models to be introduced. Music lessons, sports teams, clubs, and other after-school activities were all starting up again after a long summer hiatus. There was a different feeling in the air, a sense that anything was possible. Maybe this would be the year you’d master the guitar or piano or win an award in one of your favourite activities.

So for me at least, as the days start to shorten and I feel the occasional nip in the air, I don’t so much regret the end of summer, as look forward to a wealth of new possibilities. Happy New Year!

 

 

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