That something in the air
Maybe it's just me, but back-to-school air feels different. Every year, without fail, right around the time classes resume, the air outside feels fresh again, not so heavy. Instead of hanging around limply and halfheartedly, giving way to a reluctant boredom--a display oddly reminiscent of that of schoolchildren at this same point in the summer--the leaves on trees surrender to the slight breezes, allowing themselves to float to the ground. The birds begin to fly energetically again, and the squirrels finally abandon their lazy perches and scamper frantically, sometimes to dumpsters to seek promising garbage remnants, sometimes to a place far, far from cats, and sometimes to nowhere in particular. But everything has life again. The end of summer has almost arrived. Mothers can now stifle their tired sighs when their daughters scream for Skittles in the candy aisle, while neighbors can sigh in relief that they will soon be able to cross their lawn without being doused by the water gun of the eight-year-old boy next door. A bit of spring returns to university students' steps; their minds and livers have rested and refreshed. Even those untouched by the school calendar take notice: forgotten New Year's resolutions make their way back on to do lists, back-to-school sales spur consumers to buy forty boxes of Kleenex and gallons of antibacterial soap ("What? They were a good deal. And I'll use them all...eventually."). The air becomes tolerable again--still the usual ninety-five degrees so characteristic of Augusts in the South--because it carries anticipation, excitement. Step outside, and you feel the promise of change, agitated energy, in your bones.
But then again, maybe I'm weird.