Jennifer Lemma is a philosophy instructor at Walla Walla Community College.
March’s backpack was left outside by accident, so it is pretty damp, fairly muddy and kind of stinky. Opening it hesitantly, we are a bit apprehensive about its contents knowing the papers are rain-damaged and most likely ruined.
Chained from childhood to one another in a darkened space with a fire lit behind us, casting shadows on the wall, the cave becomes our representation of reality — albeit a false one.
As we prepare to open January’s backpack with the hopes of finding some contemplative, stoic musings inside, it slips from our hands and falls down a cliff.
December’s experienced backpack sits on top of a pile of junk mail, circulars and printable coupon offers for discounts on a host of stuff.
November is misty, cool and enigmatic. It is charming, but not charismatic like December. It is resourceful, but not unpredictable like October. Determinedly placed between these two months, November is its own entity. It declines persuasion by cultural trends, but assuredly recognizes the influence of surrounding customs. It is dignified and respectful, but by no means is it dull or boring.
The content of October’s backpack is nothing new.
Possibility might not have a definitive scent or color attributed to it, but September’s philosophy proposes that unsharpened, No. 2 Ticonderoga pencils best represent it.
It is still summer, and we are trying to slow down the calendar to make the languid, lazy days of sunshine and bare feet remain a little longer. In this last month of the warmest season, we cling mercilessly to the idea that we don’t have to go back to real life quite yet. Not quite yet. The heaviness of August’s backpack, then, is particularly confusing. The backpack is exhaustingly heavy, and it is painful to carry its soggy load.
In the middle of July’s stifling, scorching heat, it would be a welcome relief to find a cold drink tucked inside the philosopher’s backpack. Perhaps we might find a practical umbrella to provide much-needed shade.
June’s backpack is wiggly and slightly heavier than usual, with sunflower seeds falling out of every opening. It holds sturdy bases, an antsy Bugs Bunny, a well-oiled, much-loved mitt, a ridiculous amount of the unknown and a little philosophy from John Rawls.