Summer’s looming end is swooping in quickly and the back-to-school season is a melancholy cue of another fading season. Often met with a begrudged transition, the return of another academic year reflects a new beginning and anticipation of a fresh adventure. It’s been nearly thirty years since I first waited for that big yellow bus coming down the road - clutching a metal Kermit the Frog lunchbox - but the annual milestone still prompts a compulsion to refocus and celebrate the start of a new chapter.
As I dug through an old shoebox looking for that gem of a photo down there to your right, my accidental mullet served as staunch symbolism for just how quickly time passes. I considered those early saddle shoe-wearing years, an era peppered with naps, snack breaks, storytime and recess. Each day was filled with new experiences that remain deeply etched in my memory bank, like being so excited for my first packed lunch I ate half my egg and olive sandwich on the bus to school. Today, I couldn’t tell you what I ate last week. I recently read an article suggesting that our formative years are marked by firsts - kisses, homecoming, holidays - and once these milestones or our “firsts” are met, the years to follow are hollow (a depressing notion, sorry). True, perhaps, but don’t share this sobering sentiment with Al Skelton and Joyce Bessette, a Stafford Springs couple who spent the summer traveling more and worrying less. Without reservation - or reservations - the two just completed a cross-country trek on a Can-Am Spyder, their story is both a nod to the warm summer months and a metaphor for building abundant memories. In the spirit of learning, we visited The Hive Creative Co-op, a working textile studio in Somers that serves as workshop and retail space for the artist in residence, K.M. Hutton. In Wilbraham, we received an important food education from Healthy Cooking With Kids instructor, Katherine Zahirovic and discovered what’s been “rocking” in Enfield. Cooling temperatures mean warmer food and this month we went in the kitchen at Villa Napoletana where owner Joe Manzi served up an unforgettable food experience.
I hope the changing season flecked with fresh pencil shavings and black marble notebooks inspires you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new - or return to a forgotten favorite. Develop a talent, learn a new skill or explore a curiosity; the downshift to cooler weather is an invitation for contemplation. September is a transitional month where we exchange warm-weather wears for plaid flannels and long denim (yay!), let it mark a new beginning. I’m starting fresh - after I pick up the pieces from a bustling summer - and channeling that girl over there with the ultra-cool embroidered collared dress. I’ll rekindle those novice days like a fresh box of crayons - finding my style, embracing imperfections and happily coloring outside the lines.