Say it ain't so.
Could it be over already?
Will the big yellow buses with their cargo of wilted summer dreams really roll tomorrow?
Alas, thanks to the vagaries of school schedules and those extra weeks slipped in between terms, Payson kids tomorrow must groan and sigh and pack their book bags to make that long journey to yet another first day of classes before August even clambers out of the swimming hole and stands, dripping, studying the afternoon thunderheads building up over the Rim.
It's good preparation for life, kids.
Drivers, slow down in respect, as you pass by those brave emissaries to the future, trudging that endless block towards those small rooms and the tyranny of calendars.
Heck, drive with your lights on.
And when you come up behind the big yellow bus that shuttles kids from the crawdad hunts and dragon quests of summer back towards the glass and concrete world of deadlines and mortgages, slow and spare a kind thought for the little tykes -- and even the gangling adolescents.
Heck, stop and watch them climb off or on -- and use the time to remember the last perfect summer life allowed you.
Don't linger too long.
You have places to be -- projects to finish.
Don't sit behind the yellow bus and imagine a world in which we all got out for the summer. Don't think too long about what you'd do if Dad would still pay the bills while you outfitted yourself with a stick and a trash can lid and set out to seek out the Mogollon Monster, off in the magical woods.
You had your time. It's their time now, God bless them.
Like you, they probably won't properly appreciate that special definition of summertime until some day years from now when they're idling behind a school bus -- and the memory of the long rope dangling from the short cottonwood limb comes unbidden to mind.
For we need our teachers.
And our books.
Although, not, perhaps so many dirty looks.
And the long, aimless summers of our youth, when boredom was actually a problem, must yield in time to that turn of the season -- when it is our job to provide a safe space for those who come next to while away those golden months when the creeks run muddy brown and the cicadas sing.
Ah. Now, move on. The bus has clanked into motion. The kids are safely off the street and they're taking roll in homeroom.
Summer's over. Say it ain't so.