We Interrupt our Regular Schedule to Bring You… October

Months change, my calendar pages often remaining unturned, seasons subtly sneaking up on me until I realize time has moved on and I have not. Then I begin my on-line search for new author birthdays, new literary events, new quotations to lace the pages of A Book With a View with those bits of humor, wisdom, trivia or poetry that tickle me, if no one else. Not all months arrive unnoticed, however. Some pounce on me cat-like from a well hidden spot, sharp claws scraping my bare ankles for attention. “I’m here, I’m here! Look at me. Come and play!” So October attacked me today. Week after week we'd seen so much rain we’d stopped tracking days or seasons, and only thought of gray or grayer. Then, sudden and unexpected, we had one perfect fall day; but of course it would turn gray and rainy the next. Only it didn’t and we actually had two such days, before the rains would fall again. But they didn’t fall, and summer’s heat and humidity have gone, too. Perhaps my brain had gotten soggy and just now dried out, for today while I sat by an open window enjoying the air, it hit me. Every morning has become a blessing that I can see and reach out and touch -- the sun’s warmth toasts my skin, cool air whipping through my hair as I drive with the sun roof open and car windows down along curved gravel roads, slipping into the shade of mature maple, oak, and cottonwoods, then turning sharply into bright sunlight again. The trees haven’t started turning here, they’re a little behind schedule, but with such days as today any autumn color might overwhelm, squeezing me tightly till tears flowed for reasons I couldn’t explain or understand, except that my heart is too full and it is October.

October -- the month of too much, leaving too soon. “The month of carnival of all the year, When Nature lets the wild earth go its way, And spend whole seasons on a single day. The spring-time holds her white and purple dear; October, lavish, flaunts them far and near.” My birthday is in October so I’
ve always had some proprietary interest in it. I thought Lowell a fool for writing “What is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days.” I approved, instead, of Helen Hunt Jackson for saying “O suns and skies and clouds of June, And flowers of June together, Ye cannot rival for one hour October's bright blue weather.” It‘s true that “bright blue weather” might not be a description worthy of great poetry, but it was accurate, so I turned up my nose at British summer days, championing my beloved Colorado’s autumn instead. (And I’m still willing to put the blue of a fall Colorado sky up against any other in the world. There is nothing like it. Trust me, I know.)

October is hard to define. Writer’s often infuse it with a sense of melancholy, for the year is dying soon, and so are we, they enjoy reminding us. William Cullen Bryant's
October, says it is “When woods begin to wear the crimson leaf, And suns grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief And the year smiles as it draws near its death.” Frost, in another poem of the same name, begins “O hushed October morning mild, Thy leaves have ripened to the fall; Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild, Should waste them all.” But there’s much more of life left in this month than that. October is the home of Halloween after all, the don’t be a fraidy-cat, “trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat,” candy stuffed old holiday, "and the goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!" It’s the month of high school football games, popcorn and candied apples, cider and sweaters. It used to be the season for TV programs, too. Every show started in September and by October you knew which ones your family was watching, and what nights you had to hurry through chores and piano lessons to catch your favorites. (These days I can’t even find a good show until one week before the finale, which for some reason is in July or August.) Halloween and television may never be the same, but still these October nights I hear my neighborhood kids playing outside in the dark, till someone calls them in for dinner. I smell wood smoke most evenings, and some mornings, too, if I happen to be near an open window. It might not be cool enough for me to wear sweaters yet, but I can leave the windows open day and night now, which is a blessing not everyone understands, and I get keep an extra blanket on my bed, just in case. After all...

"They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here--
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossom on the trees,
And the mumble of the
hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the sir's so
appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the
airly autumn days
It's the
pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock--
When the frost is on the
punkin and the fodder's in the shock."

Read Well, Friend

A Calendar of Sonnets: October written by Helen Hunt Jackson; What is so Rare as a Day in June, James Russell Lowell; October's Bright, Blue Weather, H. H. Jackson; Little Orphan Annie and When the Frost..., poems by James Whitcomb Riley.)


Jill Edmondson said...

Love the poem! Had heard the final line before, but never the whole thing :)

October is hard to define and the moods that accompany it can be surprising. I think more than any other month, the weather in October has a great deal of influence on our moods - crisp days, Indian summer, cool rains...

Cheers, Jill

Anonymous said...

The talk of seasons always makes me envious, amazing, wonderful changes.. I only have the monsoons, rain or sun.
God Bless

Sharon McPherson: AUTHOR / ARTIST said...

Autumn is my favourite time of the year; one that I couldn't explain, but your quote,
'The month of carnival of all the year', sums it up. :)

Teri K said...

Thanks for the responses. It seems that Autumn strikes a chord with a lot of people. I hated living in Florida during the fall, nothing changed, not the weather or the colors or the way people lived. It was like living in a vacuum after a while. This CO girl just never adjusted!

Just Playin' said...

October is just the best month!!! Thanks for all the great visuals that came up. I remember "playing out" we called it until somebody had to go in....pretty late into the night. So fun!

Bendigo said...

Hi, I really enjoy the blog. I have presented you with an award. You can receive it here http://bendigosrage.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-awesome-is-this.html . thanks and keep up the great blogging :)

Always a mom said...

Hi, love your last post! I love the colors of fall! Can't wait to visit the mountains for the change of scenery soon!Great poem too!!!