at the end, a commencement.
Commencement is a beginning and an end. The starting line found at the finish line. A completed circle within a cycle of more circles yet to meet their ends.
I always preferred the word graduation in light of the season. The time of year goes mostly unnoticed by me now, and is significant only because of it’s past- like an anniversary. Looking back on when I was celebrated, when I had graduated- from high school and college, in particular, it’s more a fond memory of accomplishment (graduation) rather than the fixed point of an endeavor (commencement).
Especially in high school, it was all about closing the chapter of something. Too young, too distracted, too caught up in parties or plans for the summer that followed- it’s hard to blame a graduate for not reading ahead the next chapter of the next book (there’s no extra credit for that.) Forgive the graduate (the darling of the present moment) for the season while it lasts but remind him or her that once it’s over (it might be a shock) there’s more to read.
Commencement is a blank page in a big book that will someday read of problems more unsolvable than the ones in a calculus textbook. Of characters far evolved beyond academic honors, achievements and the collective forecasts of their peers. The dude deemed “most likely to be successful” will succeed in being forgotten. A best friend known for her “best smile” will be replaced over and over again as relationships get replaced and as features fall, and wrinkle with age- page after crinkled page.