Sunday, October 19, 2008


October to me means frost-coated mornings and still days under cerulean skies, a thin veneer of wood smoke hanging low to the ground and the earthy scent of newly-dead leaves. I remember once standing around a pickup truck talking with some neighbors. It was one of those still, cold mornings mentioned above. One guy looked around at the dazzling reds, yellows and purples surrounding us and said, “I wish it could be October all year round.”

I understood what he meant, too. A transition time, October has its fleeting moments of grandeur, followed by a more somber period at month’s end. Today was one of those grand October days, and it will go down in memory for a hundred different reasons, all of them good.

October colors are pure Technicolor, straight out of an old John Wayne movie. I almost expect, upon getting up in the morning and stepping outside to greet the day, to see credits emblazoned across the heavens: “Brought to you by God, starring…”

Shadows now are longer than a month ago, and the contrast between light and shadow is striking. And at sunset, temperatures quickly plummet, a radical departure from how it was only a month or two ago.

Splitting and stacking firewood makes its irresistible demands upon free time and that’s okay. Today, two friends came to help me with the task. This was their own idea and I could not dissuade them from it.
And while it was hard work, we had a grand time. Banter flowed, as did jokes and well-intended, friendly barbs. At day’s end, my woodshed was about half full, an impressive feat for one day.

Take weather and scenery so grand that I wish I could put in a bottle and save it for later, mix it with the fellowship of good friends and a general sense of peace with the world, and the result becomes something very, very special. October is good.

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