A Bouquet of Newly Sharpened Pencils

This morning I am sitting in the midst of school supplies yet to be unpacked and distributed between one sturdy old backpack and one brand new backpack of two very special boys, my own.

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.” said the character of Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) to Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) in You’ve Got Mail directed by Nora Ephron.

I don’t know if I love New York in the Fall. I know I love it during the Spring, as I got the opportunity to take a jaunt over there this last May. I am pretty sure that I would love New York in the Fall too. Although, I have it on good authority (the Director’s commentary on the DVD) that they did have to paint some of the leaves brown and gold for a couple of scenes in the movie because they really filmed it in the late fall/ early winter.

I digress. This post isn’t about New York in any season (sigh). I should write one but this isn’t it. This post is about sitting in the midst of school supplies in one of the hottest weeks of the summer in sunny California.

Here, we don’t send our children to school in the Fall but during the hottest, most miserable time of the year anywhere – Mid August. My boys will probably say when they grow up, “Don’t you just love the 110 degree weather? It makes me want to buy school supplies…”

In Vegas, Nevada, where we lived for the first 9 years of the boys lives, we started school in late August when it was still a brutal 110 -115 degrees. I remember going to pick up the boys from Kindergarden and First Grade armed with small bottles of Gatorade so that we would all survive the walk from their classrooms across the melting black asphalt of the parking lot to the car parked down the street. At least here in Northern California, I have the hope that the temperature will come back down to a pretty warm midday bookended by beautiful cool breezes in the mornings and evenings for the start of the school year.

Ugh. I am very ADD this morning….pencils, I am writing about newly sharpened pencils and the smell of scotch tape. I am writing about tearing through the flimsy plastic wrapping of 8 &1/2 by 11 lined notebook paper so that it can be put into the back of a brand new 2 inch binder. I am writing about breaking through the cardboard back of a neon highlighter set to release them for use.

I am writing about the nervous anticipation of the unknown future and the tools that trigger powerful emotions. As a child, I experienced mild nervousness and the excited awareness that soon I would soon be back in the classroom. I loved school. Now, I get to experience theses moments with my boys who are sad that the summer is over and very nervous at what the new school year might bring. They are excited about the new shoes, new binders, new highlighters and so many # 2 pencils that I could make a beautiful pencil bouquet of out of them.

I am excited, too. It is time to launch into a new season.

What does the smell of “new sharpened pencils” invoke in you? Are you ready to launch into a new season? What tools or preparation would help you get ready? What do you need to do to be successful in it?

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