You have to love a Universe that sends you flowers Just Because time is flying.

And time is flying, the summer quickly waning, whether you’ve noticed or not. Classes at Keene State start next week–next week!–so that means I’m doing one last mad push to complete all the things I should have done months ago. There are classes to plan, syllabi to prepare, assignments to design. Yesterday I went to an all-day faculty meeting, and now my head is buzzing with even more ideas about how to make this year better than last year: every instructor’s perpetually elusive goal.

As if I needed more evidence that tempus fugit, last night when I crawled into bed, I was cold, even with a sheet and blanket. Wasn’t it only weeks ago that I was hot with only a sheet? As I stumbled to the dresser and pulled out an extra blanket, I wondered: how long until I change my summer sheets for flannels, the official Last Nail in summer’s coffin?

If the evidence of late summer wildflowers, the back-to-school rush, and extra bedding isn’t enough to convince you that time is flying, consider Exhibit D. Yesterday afternoon after that all-day faculty meeting, I collected Reggie and we went to walk on the wild side of the Ashuelot River here in the heart of Keene. (If you want a flashback of what the wild side looks like in October, click here.) If you’re a long-time Hoarded Ordinaries reader with an exceptionally fine memory, the gnarled giant on the right might look a bit familiar since I first posted his picture less than two years ago.

If you take a moment to compare those two images–then in April, 2004, and now in August, 2005–you’ll notice something definitely different on the wild side of the Ashuelot River. The invasive buckthorn that grows there has run amok, growing higher than my head (and threatening to swallow the unmanicured paths) in the year or so since work crews cleared the electrical right-of-way on the wild side of the Ashuelot. Back then, I noted the angry bitterness of an older woman who obviously didn’t approve of such vegetative clearing…and yet, less than two years later, yesterday I found myself wishing those work crews would return to trim back the buckthorn, tidy up the trails Reggie and I wander along the river, and reveal (again) the base of that still-standing gnarled giant.

But yesterday there was no sign of work crews on the wild side of the Ashuelot, and I have work of my own to do here at home. Time is flying, and things change. The path out of bitterness is to accept the fact that sometimes the things and situations you love change whether you like it or not, just because.