Driving in to work this morning down the wilderness highway from Fox Lake
we pass the first clusters of school children standing in the clear morning light at the ends of long driveways
waiting for the first glimpse of the yellow school bus to appear on the horizon.
Tendrils and wisps of fog rise from the wet chip-sealed highway
making misty the dripping scarlet leaves of fireweed gone cotton
the blown wild roses, the foxtails and cold-stunted aspen.
These fledglings scamper madly amongst the hillocks of wet grasses
lunches packed securely in backpacks of hello kitty pink and batman blue
unaware of the long vista stretching before them
thinking only of this moment
this first day of school
this hallmark of summer’s end.