I love October. It is
my favorite month of the year. My
parents got married in October; I met Rob in October; Harper Lee was born in
October; cross-country season is in October; the best 5Ks are in October; the
leaves are changing, the pumpkins are ready, and Halloween is in October. What’s not to love?
Already, the air is turning crisp, and I can leave my
windows open all day and all night with an additional quilt thrown on the
bed. I’m in the mood for pumpkin pies
and homemade soups and breads, and the leaves have started to accumulate on the
paths I run, crunching in a satisfying way underneath my trail shoes.
Rob had Monday off for Columbus Day. (Bankers get every crazy holiday off. It’s awesome.) The kids, however, had school, so we loaded
up his bike and dropped the kids off before heading down to Salem Lake for a
bike ride and a long run. I couldn’t
have asked for a more beautiful morning.
There were a surprising number of folks out in the cool
morning air, which was just cool enough for a long sleeved base layer when I
began. The leaves were turning on the
trees, and I’ve noticed a lot of really deep reds and oranges this year. There were also, as I said, several already
brown and crumpled on the trail. The sun
was bright on the water of the lake, and that smell, the one like leaves and
pine needles and cool fall air that I love so much, was all around me.
I started the run off fairly slowly. I had suffered from a horrible stomachache
the night before so I wasn’t sure how I might feel once I started, but it turns
out that it was one of the best runs I’ve had in ages. I ran each mile progressively faster and by
the end, I was pushing myself fairly hard, and it felt great. October just does that to me.
Crystal recently told me about an essay she heard on NPR
about the “excitement of life” that seems to come each fall in the animal
kingdom. The writer put it in a way
neither of us had ever considered. He
said that in the winter, many things die, and the fall is that last flurry of
activity, the last hurrah if you will, for many creatures, and because of this,
there is an aliveness in the woods that you might not find elsewhere.
This started me thinking about the excitement for life that
I always seem to feel in October. I don’t
anticipate dying this winter (at least, I really hope not), but I do feel a
little bit of dread before the onset of cold weather. Winter has always been a difficult season for
me; I tend to be gloomy when the days are short and the wind is cold. I, like other woodland creatures, probably
feel a sense of impending doom and a “Hurry up and enjoy this while it lasts!”
That’s probably OK for the field mouse and the butterfly,
but I don’t really think I want to approach winter as some sort of death,
literal or metaphorical. I’m going to
enjoy my October for all the great things it brings just as I always do, and
I’m going to ride this wave of excitement while it’s here, but I’m also going
to make a concerted effort to not hole up and die this winter. Hibernation has its good points, and I can
think of some really good things about the slowness that winter brings, but
it’s not a reason to stop altogether. I
hope that as the colder months creep in and the holidays become a distant
memory, when the long months of January, February and March come along, that I
am able to look at them with the same level of excitement that I look at good
I want to appreciate each season of my year just as I’ve
come to appreciate each age and stage of my children’s development. I want to have a whole year of October.
Journal Topic: What’s your favorite season? Create a list of all the things you love
about it. What do you love about the
other seasons? What do you look forward
to during every part of your year?
If you’re feeling creative and crafty, make a fall collage or get
outside with your camera. If you have a
kid or can borrow one, take them with you.
Kids love the changing seasons.
Be a kid!