“I’m so glad that I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?” — Lucy Maude Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Every year I think about Montgomery’s wonderful character, Anne Shirley. With the exception of glorious December, other months are ho-hum by comparison. October represents far more than a twelfth of each of my years, regardless of what the calendar says. Even though one should seek out new experiences to savor, there is something comforting about the repetition of familiar things that you know you can count on.
I have read the comments of several authors who say that their characters become so alive in their minds that they actually dictate their writing. The rich Octobers in the deep pool of my inner being of my life have been chockablock with layers of experience and great beauty that in turn pull up snatches of poetry and writings by fine authors.
I cannot have too much poetry in my life. Poets see both the reality of the external world and the inner emotionality of t human soul with a keen eye that they express with an economy of the best words assembled in a memorable style.
Is there anything better than an Indiana October? Below are some lines extracted from a poem that the Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley, wrote. His lines are interspersed with some of my own musings. His memories predate my own, but his reactions are universal, and our spirits touch across the years.
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock . . .
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock
October is a month of glorious sunrises that I watch from the window above the desk where I write. The rising of the sun is very important to the Japanese and to me. No two sunrises are alike. I shall never again see in my lifetime — or, indeed, in all eternity — what the sun, that master colorist, has provided on this day. Riley continues:
They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here . . .
the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.
The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn . . .
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!
The vibrant colors of October comprise many of the threads woven on my loom of life: gold, pale yellow, tan, orange, brown, red, ochre, rust, the cobalt of the sky . . . Even the great Monet and other Impressionists could not surpass the palette of an October autumn.
Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’ ’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too!
I delighted in listening to old Granny spinning tales of how people lived. She described how they dug a trench and lined it with straw. Then they laid apples, cabbages and such on the straw, covered them with another layer of straw and dirt. Her brother, Bert, made homemade cider that Mother and her cousins were allowed to drink through a long wheat straw stuck through the foam. One time it had turned hard. Mother said, “We little girls had the bestest time!” firstname.lastname@example.org