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On summer, yearly cycles and first days

September 2, 2011


“Daddy, so you know why we got balloons and stickers in kindergarten today?”
“No, why?”
“Because it is the first day of school.”

Now this made me think of time. There was of course, the initial “I’m getting old” thingy, which is inevitable as one’s little one starts talking about school.

Then the memories of the last pre-school summer evenings kicked in briefly, which we spent grilling the corn on the second terrace of the reinforced banks of the Savinja river, hidden from the sight of our parents by a line of tall Platanus (Buttonwood) trees. We “got” the corn from a nearby field, and the task of “picking” it was always a matter of contested debate. By this I mean who would go into the field, who would be on the watch, and who would eventually end up cycling back home with a bunch of corn stalks stuffed underneath his T-shirt. Technically, you can call it stealing, but we had a different expression then. “Rabutati” (if someone knows English word for this, please share!!) was a term used for kids stealing small amounts of mostly fruits without consent of the owners (not because of real hunger but for the fun of it), but without the pejorative connotations of stealing. There was a clear division between stealing and “rabutati”, both in our actions and luckily for us, also in the unwritten penal code of our parents. So if one would declare that we are off to grill some corn, no objections were raised even though they knew the method of “acquiring” the corn. And firewood. Technically, firewood was also not exactly what you would have in mind if I mention a camp fire on the banks of a river. Instead of searching for driftwood, we would drift to the back of a local grocery store and “acquire” disposed vegetable and fruit crates from which we would stack up and fire up, making a sort of rectangular and burning leaning tower of Pisa.  Again, nobody would mind if we did not cause any mess, and the fires were ritually and thoroughly extinguished with urine. As thoroughly extinguished as our wishes of the summer lasting on forever by the ruthless calendar.

But this was just a quick flashback, for what preoccupied my mind on the short drive home was the concept of the yearly cycle that has been implanted into me since I was six years old. The cycle according to which the years are not counted from January to December but from September to June, with two months of happy idle running in between. And how the start of the “year” shifted ro October when I went to the university, which made me feel a bit out of sync in the beginning. And how for most of my colleagues, it gradually ceased to be the ruling logic, but not for me. I’m still running according to the university cycle, which in turn makes me falsely assume that the summer is not over yet. But this morning, I felt that could already smell the first signs of autumn, realising that the only summer I cans till hope for is an indian one.

I will fill you in on the details of our summer soon, but for now, I’ll just be celebrating getting back on (blog) line with a new page design. Which also means larger photographs.

So, hello stranger, grasswire is back.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 6, 2011 9:29 am

    Glad that you’re back.

    It only seems like yesterday that I took that photo of you and your little girl on your shoulders with her toy camera.

    How time flies!

    Which brings me to the thought that it might’ve been a cool thing to give your child an inexpensive digital camera to take to school on her first day. Capturing the things that might catch a child’s eye and that she thought were significant. What an amazing series of images they might be. Then again, maybe not, but it would be interesting.

    Now there’s a line of investigation! The developement of, and the shifting of what a person finds significant through their life.

    • September 7, 2011 1:51 pm

      Hey Razz, it is not that long :) Tamara is still in the kindergarten, well, at least for one, if not two years. But to hear her talk about going to school is enough to make you utter the standard “how time flies”. But I’ll send you a photo or two, so that you can see the little one…

  2. November 11, 2011 12:17 am

    I’m just writing my own blog on this “rabutati” theme – so check it out for a more benign English equivalent than “stealing”! I enjoy your blog!

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