Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Back to School

How I used to hate the season. All summer long we enjoyed having the kids at home. We all worked hard, but we had good times too. Between fairs we found activities that were educational, but more fun than getting dirty, even though we were broke more often than not.

Actually at some of them we got real dirty too, which is never bad from a kid's point of view. In between museums, (and Upstate NY has a plethora of fine ones,) and fishing, driving around the countryside, (back when gas was affordable), and 4-H dairy club activities, we noodled around in the Schoharie Creek down in the Middleburgh area hunting for rocks full of fossilized brachiopods. 

In that region the creek bed is carved out of rock that is as full of them as a hound is full of fleas.

At first we only picked up small rocks with exposed fossils. You could find a pocketful quite quickly, especially if you were young and full of enthusiasm. If you were built close to the ground and had sharp kid eyes, so much the better. Some days Alan plied the pools with his fishing poles, we ate picnic lunch from in the cooler, and then clambered up and down the banks all day, swatting skeeters and picking up stones.

Then the boss, being a guy and all, started bringing home bigger rocks with more fossils.

Next he slapped on the safety goggles, got out the weaponry...er...tools.... and started splitting them. It was like opening Christmas presents. Inside you might find the equivalent of an ugly sweater from Aunt Sally, just more boring stone. However, sometimes a full brachiopod would tumble out into your hand, or a whole shelf of dozens  would be revealed (more like a package from that favorite grandma who always knew just what you liked).Everybody loves a treasure hunt and my flower beds were full of fossils.

Sometimes at back to school time we took that show on the road and hauled unopened rocks to science science class. It was was a bit like conjuring. Here you see a plain grey rock. Bam, bam, bam, voila! creatures from antiquity, seen for the first time by human eyes. Magic.

It was cool.

Nowadays I still feel melancholy this time of year, despite the fact that everyone is grown and back to school no longer holds the threat of loneliness and endless struggles to maintain our family values in the face of the cultural onslaught that takes place in public schools...(My girls failed a TEST (!!!!) in elementary school because they didn't know the details of Disney's The Little Mermaid, because we didn't let them watch junk TV when they were small. Don't get me started.)

Anyhow, the fair is over, the sky is gloomy, rain is coming (and big time) and the farmer's wife is gloomy too....deadlines looming, short crops, long bills, and no good news on the dairy front, acres of second cutting ready, the baler's broken for the second time in a week, and that rain on the horizon means it's doomed......Sorry about that.....I'll cheer up when the sun comes back.


Earl said...

Failed a test on Little Mermaid? They allowed them to read the book first didn't they? I am not getting you started.

Shirley said...

Aw, hope things turn around for you!

Terry and Linda said...

I love the sun also. We are harvesting now and I pray for sun for two more weeks. Here is prayers for sun for you also!!!!


threecollie said...

Earl, I was outraged. well, heck I guess I still am. Alan was also thrown out of study hall when he was older for reading a book above his grade level. That one I went to school and straightened out in a hurry.

Shirley, thanks! It's just the short days autumn-cloudy-gloomy-rain thing. It gets me every year.

Linda, Thank you dear friend! On a crisp sunny day I can darned near work the clock around. Not so much when it is grey and soggy.

Cathy said...

Awww . . . Marianne . . hope things get sunnier - in every sense.

Even vacationing out here in the sunny west - I'm practically weepy with the shorter days.

I keep reminding myself that spring will find us again.

Loved this:
"Bam, bam, bam, voila! creatures from antiquity, seen for the first time by human eyes. Magic."

A few of my favorite sitting-around-the-house objects are fossils. They blow me away.

threecollie said...

Cathy, winter just looms! Last year was so awful being so cold all the time. We still don't have all the bugs worked out of the ducts so we probably are going to feel the chill again until we do. And then the short days. I can't believe it is hitting me so early this year. Oh, well, as you say, spring will come.....eventually. lol