Slate with Chalk The kids were back to school today, first day. Our youngest is starting grade one, so for the first time, it’s all-day every day for her… and the house is quiet during the weekdays now. There was some anxiety last night and this morning, but all in all it went fairly well. The kids each have friends in their class and they know they’ll make new ones as well… and there was some excitement mixed in for them. Our youngest asked me last night at bedtime if I rememberd my first day of grade one. Uh, no… my wife remembers hers though, as she was at boarding school and she wouldn’t see her parents for three months after her first day of school. Doesn’t quite compare, but the kids both returned home in high spirits at the end of the day. In the interim of course, my wife is noticing the end of an era now that both kids are out of the house during the days… she’d have a very quiet time of it except that her husband started working from home last year. He (by whom I mean me) suspected some mixed emotions would surface and promised ahead of time to take her out for lunch today. We went for a 90-minute walk instead, leaves crunching beneath our feet and a light sprinkle of rain interrupting the mid-point of our outing.

The farmers were out early this year, starting to get their crops off, and we have most of the apples off of our tree in the back yard. Seems like autumn is settling in fairly solidly. Over the summer, we had three new neighbours move in. One set we haven’t met yet, another have a girl close to our oldest daughter’s age, and they’ve been out playing together in the front driveways several times already. We haven’t really met the parents yet, but my wife had been over to say hello once. She wears the birkah, so we mentioned it to the kids that she dresses differently and it’s connected to her faith, just so they’d be aware.

This afternoon we found one the two large dogs owned by the neighbour over the back fence (he’s been there about four years, I think) had escaped their fenced back yard and were roaming around our fenced back yard. One of them made his way back on his own, and my wife put the other one on a leash and walked him around to return to the neighbour… who evidently wasn’t home and has a gate to said fenced yard that was rusted shut. After recruiting the help of our other over-the-back-fence neighbour who’s only been there about a month, the gate was opened and the dog returned to its own domain. At that point, the wife proceeded to stand in the driveway visit with said new neighbour for about an hour, going on like they’d known each other for ages. Evidently he’s a one-time youth pastor and they attend an emergingesque type of church in the city. They’re homeschooling this year, and their kids will be in the same (Christian) school as ours next year. Our kids had said greeted each other over the back fence already; two of theirs are close to the ages of ours. I of course was out for the afternoon during all of this, rooting around in some used bookstores looking for some samples of good writing that I could sink my teeth into.

We’ve been in this house for 12 years now, and we almost moved last year. This is the first time there have been kids in the area close to the ages of our own… it’s largely a non-kid area with the park on the corner getting little use. We did just lose our conveniently just-across-the-street babysitter this summer as well. I’m settling into the idea that I’m a writer now and somewhat  hope  expect to derive an income from it. I’m not sure what’s up with our home gathering yet as nobody’s said anything about reconvening for the fall yet. In the meantime, neighbours are changing, leaves are falling, the kids are in school full time, the special Oktoberfest brew is announced, and we’re into that old September fresh-slate feeling but with heightened senses, as things have been changing a lot around us this year. Time to settle in a little and be at peace, I hope.

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