Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 8/29/2014

Sara's Beach

Sara’s Beach

By Carrie Jacobson

It’s the start of school, and though our daughter is long grown, and school – even teaching school – is a distant memory for me, the academic cycle tugs at me, in a way that feels stronger than the seasons or the calendar year or the salty pull of the  moon.

As August rolls into September, I feel a deep yearning, a rich need to start something, or at the very least, to examine my path and test it, see if it needs adjusting or rejiggering, see if it needs an entirely fresh direction.

I want to shrug off silly, sunny, summer things and get serious. Start something that matters.

I remember the thrill of new clothes, and how shoes felt tight and hard after a long, barefoot summer. I remember the  smell of textbooks, and watching my mother make covers for them from brown paper grocery bags. I remember the promise that empty notebooks held, how delicious it was to start writing in them, how quickly my notes messed up that beautiful blankness. I remember the excitement of seeing old friends, and meeting new kids, and encountering different teachers and different subjects, and I remember the pure purpose of school. Its dedicated direction.

We were there to learn, and that was it. We had recess, and phys ed, but by and large, there were no after-school activities, no sports programs, no college-directed debate clubs or physics circles. We went to school, we read, we wrote, we studied math, we did art, and then we went home, and ran in the warm September days with all the other kids.

Our youngest grandchild began sixth grade today; my nieces and nephews started a variety of grades. One among them looked forward to school starting, the way I always did.  For the rest, emotions ran the gamut from apprehension to tolerance to downright balking.

And I feel sorry for them. For me, the start of school was the best time of the year, and I know how lucky I am to have learned to love the richness and the joy of learning.

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3 Responses to “Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 8/29/2014”

  1. Michael Kaufman Says:

    I love the painting, Carrie, but I always dreaded the start of a new school year.

  2. esme Says:

    This painting is stunning and reminds me so much of ‘home’. I grew up on the North Shore of Long Island where in any direction there was a beach within 15 min. And your description of returning to school was so accurate, but with mixed feelings. It has been a long time since I remembered covering my school books, and I was always so shy about about everything and actually would get sick with nervousness and anxiety about going back each September. Your painting of Sara’s Beach is so vivid, and alive and this is where I would prefer to be, even now.

  3. carrie Says:

    For esme, with love and splendor… Thanks for the comment! I was just out on the North Shore of Long Island, and I loved seeing all the dunes, all the beaches, all the wild skies. So beautiful and inspiring.

    Sorry to stir up some not-so-great memories… You and Michael both! I know plenty of kids who dreaded the start of school, and I was always glad I wasn’t one of them.

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