A dear one left this evening, which put something of a damper on this first day of school--even more of a damper than the last remnants of our long, hard rain. She'll be back, of course, but in the meantime, her whole world here is missing her already.

I walked into my classroom five minutes early, started chatting with the students already there, and before I knew it, I'd offered them some knowledge, made them give me back some thinking, told them some things they'll soon know, found out from them some things they want to know. It was happy alchemy all around. Tomorrow I do it all over again. And then we'll be fully in swing.

Trees tip out in color all down the campus; I find myself wondering whether they're always so early.