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Sunday, October 2, 2016

OCTOBER

October Along the Cane River
Summer-spent leaves are losing their tenuous grip on the twigs to which they clung all summer. They endured then embraced the drenching rains and battering winds—satiating their thirsty roots and flexing with each gust.

It was the sun, more than the rain, that slowly changed them. Steady rays tanned their luxuriant green to crackling brown. One by one, they began their fluttering descent, giving in to much-needed rest as they settle on lawns and shrubs or crowd together in unwelcome clogs in downspouts and pool filter baskets.

It was these trendsetters in the autumn promenade that first got my attention as I skimmed the pool and emptied filter baskets. Their presence shouted October, as if it were their solemn duty to inform me—as if I hadn’t seen it on the calendar and braced against its impending arrival during the too-quickly-ending summer.  These harbingers of fall could have been subtler this year—I wasn’t likely to forget this was the month when life as my family had known and loved it ended and an uncertain future began.

Since I was a child, I have loved October—the cooler nights and drier air, the chin-dribbling taste of freshly picked apples and the smell of cinnamon-laced pumpkin. I have loved the crunch of leaves and the happy shouts of children on hayrides and in haunted houses. During my Mid-Western years, I was enchanted by the rich colors of leaves eager to shed uniform green and flaunt their adventurous individuality. Most of all, I have appreciated the way October signals change and transitions our pace from languorous summer into holiday festivity.

How can I celebrate October now when the hardest event in my life occurred during my favorite month of the year?

I contemplated following one of the rhythms of nature. Perhaps I could escape into mind numbing hibernation where sleep overtakes conscious thought. I considered flying south or east or west—not that direction matters since I only seek escape. I was sorely tempted to mimic the pattern set by leaves and drift downward to settle for decay. Yet such soul-numbing passivity contradicts the very nature of a month known for fests and frolics. I have already drifted too long on the Sea of What Might Have Been and the Ocean of What Will Never Be.

Now I look to October, a month that marches cheerfully toward the dark of impending winter, to inspire my own transition. I choose to face my lingering sadness head on. This October I want to enjoy the best of life around me, to engage new challenges and embrace fresh vision. I plan to write more so that I can chronicle my attempt—and truth be told—because it is the first of the things I most enjoy.