It’s quiet, calm. There is a crispness to the air. It begins to vibrate, causing the particles to stir and shimmer in the light. The energy arrives before the sound of giggles and feet. There is an electricity, a resonance that is palatable. It tastes sweet, sugary like salt water taffy. Stretchy and shiny, full of summer goodness, even though summer has ended. Every strand of glucose intertwined, every glimmer of flavor illuminated. Every voice succinct, yet the din is like a melody: harmonic and mellifluous. The drums providing the beat, the brass, the increasing volume of greetings and salutations. The orchestra syncs and the house lights blink, announcing the overture.
There is no reluctance. The audience of learners takes their seats. An eagerness and excitement reverberate. The floors are sparkly, eager, for the first scuffs of the year. The walls are bare, awaiting the posters of clubs, competitions and motivation to be hung. The solemn silence has been replaced by dynamic deliberation. The building’s spirit has been lifted. For the first time in months, the hallways feel content. The programs are in hand and the ticket holders are at the ready. This is when the curtain pulls back, and all is revealed.
It is this split second, this moment of contact that everything becomes clear. This is the collision. The percussion of personalities. First contact. Genesis. This is when dull becomes lustrous. Doubt turns to certainty. Wonder becomes action. The memory of all past first days, come in to view, but then just as quickly fade. This day, this first day, comes into focus. It is the first line of a fabulous story. All school days are stories, we need to make sure they are adventure stories. Thrilling tales of discovery and conquest. The crashing of cymbals, the roar of the snare. This semblance of anticipation and comfortability- this is the theme of the day. A non-fiction novella of community, collaboration and creativity.
The confluence eases into separate congregations. Rooms vibrant with a blending of cultures, ideas and charisma. A bustling of individuality and idealism. It is a beautiful thing to see. They settle in to a rhythm. Craving new opportunities. Exciting experiences. There is a thirst, a hunger for knowledge. They are seated, they are hankering for activity. The bell rings and the energies converge into a stream of consciousness.A tight roll of brilliant thought and enhanced flavor. A vision is put in to place. Foundations laid. Optimism and organization solidified. This is the first stretch of the taffy. The white, waxy paper is removed, and the first pungent smell of sugary goodness permeates the air.
It is the flexibility, the texture, brightness of flavor- these are the qualities of a great taffy. These are the ingredients of a delicious treat. The honeyed, luscious memory of the boardwalk, sand between our toes. It is also the enthusiasm, hopefulness and acceptive nature, that guides a classroom forward. Every student is a beautiful, colorful, surprise, these first few days of school. Slowly but surely their vibrancy and charm come to the surface. It takes time to get to know them. But these first encounters, these first collisions, these set the tone. These either dull the flavor or enhance it. It all depends on if you are willing to unravel the waxed paper, with no expectation or anticipation.
Taffy, as sticky and stretchy as it gets, always holds promise. It has been a staple on every beach boardwalk for hundreds of years. Why? It is durable, it is sugary sweet, it smells of the ocean and most importantly it comes in a variety of flavors. Each with its own pungency, aroma, essence and tartness. Within every bag or box there are choices, a kaleidoscope of candied opportunity.
Sometimes we feel like the sharpness of citrus, others the bitterness of chocolate. No matter our choice, its color and aroma lure us in. Like a classroom luminous and ardent, adjustable and diverse, we begin to unwrap until every dynamic, lively, vivacious piece is accessible and this moment, this percussion of personalities, is where it all falls into place. This is the first day of school, the first line of our story, so start writing educators, I can’t wait to read your first chapter.