Every year in late May, the leaves on this tree in my back yard fill in, growing heavy enough that the tree’s branches droop over the path to the back gate that leads to my son’s school. Behind the tree, bushes fill in and vines drop down from overhead, reducing the space fit for humans to walk in. By now, I’m well bent over on my morning escort, and even so the greenery brushes against my shoulders. School is over in three days, and the path will be shut off to us.
In September, when school begins again, I have to take out the clippers to open up the path. But within a few weeks, as the leaves dry, then shrivel, then drop, the branches rise back up and we can walk straight and tall in the mornings again.
This pattern is a matter of pure coincidence, not even matching historical reasons for school vacation. It’s spring and fall, not summer, when farm kids used to work the hardest on planting and harvesting. And if the growth of the season were in my way, I admit I’d probably just hack right through it or lop off that tree’s lower branches. The cycles of schooling and growth happen to match, and I am glad to impose some meaning upon them.