Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall Season

I don't know about you, but I am so relieved it is finally fall. Now don't get me wrong, I live for summer. I count down the days till the end of school just like I did as a child. I love the feeling of utter freedom and joy that comes with the long, lazy days of summer.

Growing up in Southern California, summer equals beach. Nothing stirs my sixteen-year-old sense memory like a sunny day at the beach. And on those overcast, gray mornings - "Do you think it will burn off?" is still my favorite question.

I love sand. I love sand in my shoes. I love sand between my toes. I even love sand on my hardwood floors.
I love the feeling of salt on my skin and the bristle of my hair after swimming in the ocean and sunbathing on the beach for hours on end. Summer sun draws me outside - beckoning me to sit in my white adirondack chair, lay in my zero gravity lounger, or just recline in my Costco aluminum beach chair. When I see the sun break through, I feel my skin sizzling with Vitamin D. I feel tan, healthy, and alive!

Summer days at the beach hold nothing but happy memories for me. On a hot, sunny, day at the beach I'm Gidget all over again. Without the bikini.

Still, I'm relieved it's over. All that pressure to relax. All that expectation of doing nothing. The stress of vacation planning. Behind me. Summer days come with a price. As I get older, there seem to be fewer of them, so each one feels inordinately valuable. Deciding how to spend a summer day creates so much anxiety, that sometimes it can be paralyzing - evidenced by the many projects still left undone, unfinished, and piled up in my guest room. "Should I spend today cleaning out closets, finishing that memoir, organizing the garage, painting the cabinet? Or should I go outside and enjoy the sun?" So goes the song, "Summertime and the livin' is easy."

More times than not, the sun wins.

When fall comes and school gets into full swing, my life takes on a familiar, comforting equilibrium. Rehearsals begin again. Syllabi need reformatting. The school year brings that wonderful sense of beginning.

I'm more aware than ever that the experiences my students will have in my classes and productions are going to make up a part of their high school memories. Their roles, their dreams, their opportunities, their futures are impacted by me. As I get older, my students get younger.
And their hearts seem all the more tender. Just this week, the girl I cast as Anne Frank, threw her arms around me and said, "Thank you, Mrs. Barth." In that moment, I remembered why I love what I do.

I suppose all that time relaxing in the sun contributes to my enthusiasm for returning to the daily chores of teaching and directing. By June, I will most likely be counting down the days again. I will most likely return to that pile in my guest room and the whole cycle will begin again. Sun or sort?

But for now, it is fall and with it brings another season out of the sun, in the darkness of a theatre where my soul gets its injection of whatever the creative equivalent is to Vitamin D. Call it passion.