When the calendar turns October, I find myself owning up to the reality of autumn. The aspens have peaked, and what is left is but tattered opulence of what attracted the the lookie-loos but a week or two before. The last of the wildflowers, battered and defiant, hold on and the highest peaks carry the first slight powered sugar dusting of snow upon their northern faces. When the wind and rain come, there is a bit more of a bite, and fires become a regular occurrence, the woodsmoke cologne still a novel scent in the thin mountain air. The first real cold hits in October.
October is the kissing cousin to April by virtue of being a time of limbo. We pass between summer and aspen and ski season. Sempi refers to it as falling off the cliff in terms of business, but he's constantly half-convinced we're all going to starve, even during days of milk and honey.
Miguel Loco shutters his shoppe for two to three weeks out of the month for backpacking trips in canyonious regions and perhaps some high peak in South America for something to do. Sabina wants to drag me to lands of canyons for us to get our Edward Abbey on-deserts, of course, fascinating me, as the mountains do. Dragging me out of the mountains, when I feel there is still so much to explore, even within spitting distance of my own backyard, however, is a different proposition.
Chalk it up to the somedays. I'll get to it. Trust me.
I have learned to appreciate the beauty of all the seasons. Though this was not always the case. Quite some time has passed since I disliked a season or a particular meteorological occurrence. Be that as it may, there is something about autumn that makes it my favorite time of the year. When I'm willing to go by white-man's time keeping, October is one of my favorite months, and Samhaine/Halloween really has nothing to do with it. At least not any more.
There is magic and mystery to be found in the deathrattle of warmth and the birthcries of the cold. The shifting casts of light, the scents in the air. Those moments of bardo transition have often held a sense of fascination for me. The changes I bear witness to in autumn do not threaten to fuck with my allergies the way changes within the context of spring do.
October is when I begin to hunker down. Truly, albeit begrudgingly, putting away my sandals and shorts for long pants, trail-runners, and boots. Stuffed roasted chickens, chili, and lasagna replace fish and grilled fare on our menu. We pull up the plants at the community garden plot, thinking of what to plant the next year. I watch the sky, noting the clouds, not looking for rain, but wondering when the first flakes will fall, and whether or not they'll stick. Heavier coats are moved to the ready. These are the songs of October.
I listen to the sound of neighbors splitting wood, hearkening to winter's calling. It's on its way and will be here soon enough. However, here and now it's still October, the avatar of autumn. In this time of transition, the very heartbeats are filled with halcyon magics. If you stop and pay attention, you might just spot on to what I'm on about.