Friday, June 8, 2012

School's out! School's out!

By S. Derrickson Moore LAS CRUCES — Summer’s always been my favorite time of the year, even here in blistering high desert county. Some, including me, like it hot … and sunny. I’ve been wondering, therefore, why I always feel a little blue this time of year. Recently, I think I finally figured it out, while I was writing about happy graduating seniors and watching euphoric younger kids frolicking in local parks and malls. There’s no dispute that humans, like other critters, are affected by circadian rhythms, 24-hour cyclical patterns that impact our mental, emotional, physical and behavioral states. There’s a lot of evidence that shows we’re affected by seasonal changes, too, and I think there’s a crucial one that occurs just about now every year. I call it the vacational rhythm, which may be a profound form of what my mom used to call “I don’t want-to-go-to-school-itis.” Mom, who was a teacher, admitted that she suffered from this ailment every now and then, too. Naturally, we were all immune to this dread avoidance compulsion malady from June to August every year … because there was no school! Who can forget those blissful first mornings in June (or late May for most kids here) when you start to wake up and realize you don’t have to yet, because school’s out. No school today! And you don’t have to put up with snow, or the flu or any of the usual hardships and trade-offs for a day off. There’s no school! A free pass! And the weather’s probably gorgeous. If it’s too hot, you can sleep in and stay up late and play when it’s cooler. Even if you have some sort of commitment like summer camp or a vacation trip or an early morning fishing expedition, school’s still out! If you’ve stayed up late watching TV or reading a good book or playing games, and you’re a little groggy, it doesn’t really matter. It’s summer and there are no pop quizzes or essays due or final exams or deadlines. School, after all, is out! How sweet it is, that sense of freedom and possibility. Especially those first few days and weeks. Maybe later, you’ll get a little bored and restless, and the prospect of seeing more of your friends, getting new clothes and fresh new school supplies and taking classes you really like … well, actually, it doesn’t seem so bad and you may even be looking forward to a new school year, whether you’ll admit it or not. But that will come later. At this stage, the years that I enjoyed those magical, euphoric vacation seasons constitute under a third of my life … maybe even less, when you figure in a college summer term and several demanding summer jobs. But somehow, if you’re in your teen years, and are lucky enough to have a summer job, that’s okay, too. You’ll be earning money, and maybe you’ll be able to spend some of it on something fun, so the work’s okay. It’s probably not as hard as school. And besides, summer days are longer and you’ll have more free time anyway, for summer romances, fun with friends, hanging out and goofing around. Because “real” school is out! It’s logical to have long since put such childhood rhythms behind me. But bear in mind that since I had a teacher mom, she got the summer off, too, and it seemed reasonable that the vacational rhythms could continue into adulthood. Now that many of my best friends are retired, the expectations that I should be free to stay up late to play and still sleep in are reinforced. My day will come again, I muse, as I plow through the usual round of deadlines, even though it’s June and my nature rebels. In the meantime, enjoy it while you can, mijos y mijas. School’s out! S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.

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