Hello, dear friends.  Lord have mercy, it’s been a long time since I’ve been here with you and I’ve missed you.  The past few weeks have been filled with funerals, weddings and the beautiful frenzy known as Back to School.

Good, good things are happening and I’m dying to write about them and also to write more about my beloved Ugandan children.

But the thing that’s on my mind tonight as I stand tip-toe on the doorstep of a new school year is how ripe with possibility the new year always feels.

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Have you ever eaten a peach straight from the tree?  Yes?  Then you know the sensation of the flesh bursting with juice as it runs in warm rivulets down your chin, dripping onto your shirt.  That’s the kind of ripe I’m talking about, the kind of ripe that only comes after months of effort from the loins of trees, the kind of ripe that gets all over you.  The kind of ripe that is blissfully messy.

Year after year I find myself rippling with excitement on the eve of the first day of school.  I barely sleep and I’m all a-twitter the morning of the first day.  I never know what the first day might hold.  I could be peed on.  It’s happened before.  I could be puked on.  Also happened.  My shoulder could be damp with tears.  It’s happened, courtesy of students and parents.  I could also receive drawings and love notes scratched out in blocky phonics.  It happens every year.  I could get hugged so many times that my arms ache.  That happens every year, too.  It’s a blissfully messy day.

Tomorrow when my little ones settle on the carpet and look up at me with beaming, hopeful faces, I’ll be thinking of ripe peaches.  When I eat a peach, I don’t care about the mess or the stains on my shirt, I only care about the sweetness of the peach.  Tomorrow may hold some surprises-the first day always does-but what I know for sure is that the day will be ripe with sweetness.