Topic: "Augustus Agonistes" (5)
The day after Labor Day still stands there, for Frodo, as the end of green grass memory. School began, and barefoot sprints were replaced by organized races on asphalt until Mrs. West, or Mrs. Kettler, or Mrs. Sibert, or Mrs. Armstrong demanded that Frodo open a book to Chapter 4. For days to come, his eyes would drift beyond the open windows ushering some semblance of respiration to he who sat behind the foul-smelling Jimmy Dailey. It was far too early to give up the ghost of summer, and make practical use of the confined exercises of mathematics and earth science. It remains a mystery to Frodo how the month of August has since disappeared from the calendar, and brought those who follow the Hobbit into a classroom a full month early.
"Spring Break" now appears in elementary schools, and it signals the commencement of a family trip to the beach. Such trips were unknown to he who saw no ocean until the day after his Senior Prom. Schools were closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday, but this long weekend was usually devoted to church and family picnics, accompanied by major league baseball on the radio. The fortunate few gathered on vacant red dirt diamonds in the schoolyard and played with five or six on a team, until the absence of light demanded that they seek shelter. Far better days they were than sunburns on the Gulf Coast.
Some time ago, Frodo did some whitewater rafting on the Chatuge (remember "Deliverance'?), in August, and his band of adventurers were few in number for this very popular activity in the Appalachian region. Frodo was informed by his guide, that the fact that "the schoolyear" now includes August has drastically affected the prosperity of those who plan and lead such activity. Ever since that day, Frodo has thought about how, if not why, Middle Earth has felt it necessary to consume August, and to make it just another February. Frodo knows well that an additional month of staring out those windows would have turned him to a life of crime.
Labor Day is still a month away, yet Frodo thinks about the passage of another summer when he finds himself sedentary and indoors. Soon the buses will be aligned in the School of the Shire, and innumerable "no-neck monsters" (see Tennessee Williams) will be driven into corrals and imprisoned pending slaughter. It will be as if summer never existed, and that August was merely an invention of fantasy in the mind of one small Hobbit.