The days are getting shorter. Most of this week, early in the mornings, we have had frost. People who know my wife, Joan, and I, are aware that we are early to bed, early to rise people. So we have witnessed the frost on the roofs and the landscape. It doesn’t last long, usually gone by the time cars roll into school delivering students. About three years ago deer started to move into the neighbourhood of the Richmond Road campus in some numbers, and in this gray light, with the luminescent wrap on the fields, they are easy to pick out. Sometimes they are outside our back door, sometimes they are walking sedately across the main fields, and sometimes they are just on the hill by the statue of Reg Wenman, as if they are waiting for him to hold his hand out with a few lumps of sugar. From what I know of Reg Wenman, he would have been quite capable of these secret moments of tenderness and amusement.
At the Senior School, these days signal the onset of academic seriousness. November. Students have now found their feet, met new friends and re-met old ones, and they have gotten the measure of the new teachers (one of them has already said to Susan Stenson, our Hinton Chair holder, “you can’t be leaving us next year, Mrs. Stenson.”) Especially the senior students are very focused on the realities of their academic life, because they are deep into university applications. Last night I spent the evening at Senior School Parents’ Night, trying not to get in the way for more than the shortest interval of the parents’ main purpose, speaking to their sons’ and daughters’ teachers. The Middle School yesterday went out for their schoolwide service day, performing helpful deeds all over the city as part of our service and leadership program. The Junior School students get their injection of solemnity in the preparations for their own Remembrance Day Service, an event briefer than the service at the Senior School, but poignant in its appropriate way. We will all catch our breath next weekend during half term break, and be ready for the final surge toward Christmas.
According to the weather report, we might have seen the last of frost for a while. September and October have been relatively calm and sunny months, and every bright day now is a bit of a gift. Today is such a day, frost or not.