I loved this article, and haven’t been able to post it until now. It’s a bit dated, of course, but think of it as me waiting to encompass both September and the Jewish New Year all at once. Right? Sure.
The question: Is September the new New Year?
The Guardian 30.08.07
The longer you remain in education, the stronger the connection becomes – but for most of us, a childhood lived to the rhythm of the academic year is more than enough to imbue us with an abiding sense that it is in the ninth month, not the first, that the real new year begins.
The late Augusts of our formative years are spent preparing for the new pedagogic dawn. Pencils are sharpened, school bags are dug resentfully out of the cupboard. New sensible and cripplingly stiff shoes are bought, along with whatever bits of school uniform you have grown out of. Resolutions to work hard, be nicer to friends and not answer back to the teacher are made – or at least forcibly extracted from parents – with at least as much gravitas as the traditional January vows.
The first day of the new school term sports far more novelties than any mere return to work on January 1 can ever do. After all, how many of your workmates will have doubled in height over the holidays? Had their normal voices replaced with basso profundo versions? Developed breasts, or discovered a new sexual experience that they are willing to share with the group? Rapidly maturing classmates alone can make a new year worthy of the name.
Or perhaps it goes even deeper than childhood memories. Perhaps we all have an imbedded primeval memory that tells us September is the harbinger of winter, an end to frolicking in the sun and time to gird our loins and start sharpening the family flints instead of pencils, stockpile roots and berries rather than stationery and generally hunker down against the imminent threat of snow and hardship instead of the tyranny of an unknown teacher.
Either theory makes right now the equivalent of Christmas, however, so let’s get out there and party while we still can. The fun stops on Saturday.