October arrives and this year she’s taking her time and slowly painting the trees with color. I’m enjoying the unusual warmth and the open windows that capture the calls of kids playing until the dark draws them in and listening to the hundreds of crickets singing all night. But I know every night the sun disappears a bit earlier, which does make me a bit sad, but I’m going to try and embrace winter this year. Right now, I’m suspended between summer and fall and I’m waiting for the coolness to arrive for good. I think the crickets and birds are a little confused also.
I used to live in Wisconsin and Upstate New York and deliciously cold nights dropping into the 40’s made us bring out the long sleeves and socks by the end of September, while a fire at night felt good. The trees all turned at the same time. Halcyonic days were filled brimful with apple cider, and the scent of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg simmered on the stove and evening fell on us suddenly. My friends would greet me at the bus stop in many layers of sweaters (hey, new fashion trend) because they insisted on not turning on the heat until October 1st. Here in very southern Ohio, autumn is temperamental and the trees do not fill the sky with gold, russet, and orange at the same time the they do in the north. So we pick out pumpkins in sage, creamy white and vermillion, and we pull out our sweaters and wait. My neighbors here play the same game of waiting to turn on the heat, but they try to make it to November 1st. As their homes dip into the mid 60’s inside I give up and push the heat up to 70 at least. I never win.
Have you noticed autumn is messy? The trees lose their leaves slowly, and since we’ve had little rain, every tree is thirsty and just dropping perfectly good leaves. When I go out to read on my chair on the patio, I have to brush green and some brown leaves away. I’m pretending I live in the Deep South this year. I’ve been decorating inside, and my mantle is bright and brash, even though I’ve noticed the style is to decorate with soft pastels and greens. But that’s not autumn to me. She is loud, brilliant, and showy. She makes us stop and take notice. And this pause brings reflection and taking stock of the past year. This is my time to pause and think about where I am and where I want to go.
I don’t know how you feel this October, as we all take a deep breath before the busyness of Thanksgiving and Christmas begin, but I think I’m ready. Last Halloween we sat by our fire pit that I dragged down our driveway and handed out loads of candy. Every Halloween we drink coffee with Irish Whiskey and gorge on chocolate. Neighbors wander over and we swap stories about kids, parents and what’s going on in our lives, and we’re amazed at the weddings, graduations and even deaths that have haunted our year.
While I wait for frosty mornings, I try to keep my summer plants happy. My rosemary is loving the extra month of summer but my lavender isn’t doing well. I have to wander out one morning and clip away at those bushes and store up the scent of my herbs to use in January. While I wait for autumn to arrive, I’ll sip my cold iced tea and wear tee shirts and go barefoot as long as October allows. So I guess this is a “hello there!”. Let’s get acquainted. I’ll be posting about life and its ups and downs and finding happiness wherever you are. I’ll be back in a few days. Right now, I’m planning on lying on the couch (not feeling great, but that’s my life, and if it’s yours too, we’ll cover that ground together), watching a movie while husband is away at our farm, hunting. I’m popping real popcorn with real melted butter poured over it and I’m lighting my cider scented candles. I hope you take time out to do something you really enjoy. And look up at the trees, the lighter blue sky and the big Hunter’s moon (the Harvest moon was last month actually) and find your happy place. I’ll see you soon.