They can feel it. I know they can– I see it in the sparkle in their eyes, in the way they just can’t seem to keep from running. They feel it like the apple tree outside the library, fruit grown red and hanging low. They feel it like the geese who just can’t help but start that southward flight. They feel it like the evening that darkens cooler and earlier.
My children feel that tiny hint of briskness in the air as they run, arms outstretched, to meet the wind. They smell it perhaps, just the smallest sniff of dropping leaves and ripening fruit. They feel that autumn is coming.
They sense it with every fiber of their being, little bodies that have spent too much time cooped up against the humidity and heat, released from their prison of air conditioning and told to go. Their hair blows and their eyes dance and their arms pump and they run and run and run until they drop, happy and breathless, waiting for Mom and the stroller to catch up.
And when I do, and we have safely crossed the street, their feet find wings again.
It is the last day of summer, by the calendar of a child. A change of seasons, the end of one thing– the beginning of another. They watch as I sharpen pencils, put paper in folders, peruse teacher books. They wonder what it will be like, this new adventure that the cool air blows in tonight.
I wonder too.
Tomorrow feels different, although we will get up and eat breakfast and spend the day together tomorrow just like we did today. Tomorrow, though, we will do with math books and handwriting pages and phonics lessons and a sort-of schedule, what today we did with blank paper and Legos and chapter books and endless free time.
We will be together, learning and laughing and losing it and making up and growing as we face the changing of the seasons.
And when we can feel it– when our hearts race with the possibilities and our eyes sparkle with the excitement and we can smell the beauty comes in on the breeze– then we will put all the papers aside, if only for a moment, and go out and dance with the wind, singing a love song to the great God who created all that is good.
The dancing days. These are the days we live for.