I drive every day past shorn fields and golden foliage, serenaded by October. I read somewhere that October is like an older woman who has accepted her flaws and gets on with living, even at the end of her life. I love that imagery for this season and this month of wonder. I am awed by how we still instinctively “batten down the hatches” in our own 21st-century way: buying warmer clothes, filling our Crock-Pots with hot batches of soup, setting the tea kettle on the stove to warm. We still respond to the season’s rhythm, even though we may be more separated from it than ever before. But October asks us to pause, watch, see it before it’s gone. I think that’s a good way to live life. Even though we know the end will come eventually, we squeeze every last opportunity from the golden days we have, not in mourning but in celebration. Autumn is full of lessons and perhaps this is one of them.
I read this yesterday, printed in a local newspaper in 1901 and it stopped my breath.
“I tell you at about this time of day, when the dark begins to come and I am here alone with all these records and reports which might be called the index of lives which have passed out, and the life work of men who have crossed over the dark river, and when everything is quiet and I am here alone; at such times when I hear the papers in these cases rustle and sometimes what seems to be the scratch of pens traveling over rough paper, and muffled sounds come from the dark corners of the room, it seems as if men who are gone come back and again go over the old records and examine the old files.”
I know how that feels.
Driving south on a blustery afternoon, a family of birds suddenly appeared in the blue sky-meadow above me, dancing in the wind, and I immediately thought, “They can fly because they are light as air.” Hollow bones. Feather coats. And I knew I too could fly high if I just empty myself of all heaviness, letting go of worry and judgement and doubt and fear. It sounds cliche to write it out now but in that moment, there was no greater truth.