the time of the season
October 1st. I hold out my arms in welcome.
My calendar is divided into two sections; October, and everything else. I spend eleven months out of the year wishing it was October, wishing that it would rush forward or come back, depending on the month I'm stuck in.
It's hard to explain an obsession with a month without coming off as someone who is, well, one month short of a calendar, if you know what I mean.
But here it is, October 1st and I move into another realm of living. My adrenaline kicks in. My energy level bursts forth. My desire to get things done, to start new projects and complete old ones, to write, create, and just live all fire their jets at the same time and I am a rocket ready to take off.
It's 48 degrees right now. It's still dark out at this hour of the morning; normally the stars would still be slightly visible and the moon would be giving a silvery glow to the autumn clouds moving in. Today, there is an extra dose of darkness. Rain clouds hover. The trees make noise in the wind, like the rustling of paper, and when the leaves move the birds move with them; crows and doves and gulls taking flight, spreading their wings against the threatening sky.
A few leaves fall to the ground; they are tinged with the first yellows of autumn. The dark yellows come first and its just on the edges of the leaves, as if the weather didn't have enough time to full work its magic before these early leaves became victim to the season. Soon, the reds will appear, then the browns and oranges and the trees will look like a forest fire, all those burnging colors set against the grayish morning skies of October.
The trip to the nursery comes soon enough. Pumpkins, bales of hay, mums in colors that mimic the trees, a few scarecrows and a wooden black cat complete the package. I used to have a small, plastic cauldron filled to the brim with gourds of ridiculous shapes and sizes, but the squirrels would come and have a feast, leaving my cauldron overturned as if a beggar witch had come in the evening looking for scraps. Now, I just buy a few gourds and throw them right under the oak tree. The squirrels thank me by leaving my pumpkins alone.
Everything gets set up on the lawn in a precise formation. It is my homage to the time of the season. To the crisp air, the incredible colors, the creepy fall moon, the witches and goblins that haunt the neighborhood on the last day of the month, the readiness.
And what am I ready for? For everything. For trading in my tank tops for sweatshirts, for taking the air conditioners out and putting the storm windows in. For putting the cover on the pool and the summer toys in the shed and dragging out the fake spiderwebs and well-worn scarecrows. For the anticipation of everything that comes after October; apple pies, family gatherings, hay rides, Christmas lists, the shopping and the secrecy and peeking into closets to stare at the wrapped presents. The last of the leaves finally letting go of the trees, leaving them looking like bony fingers pointing at dull grey skies, until one of those fingers pokes a hole in the clouds and the snow comes down, bringing with it winter and hot chocolate and warm fires.
It is October. My calendar does not have to tell me this. When I walk outside and the wind is an old, dangerous witch whispering secrets in my ear, cold and ticklish, it's time. I feel my first goose-bump shiver of fall. The anticipation of spending an entire month soaking up the finest artwork nature has to offer, backdropped with a barely audible, but fully present, crackle and hiss of electricty in the air; this is what being alive, being in the here and now is all about.
It is October and I am fully alive.