There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.
~ Bliss Carman
I love October.
Fall began a few weeks ago, but October is the first true Fall month. The invigorating autumn air makes running downright enjoyable after the long, hot summer. The swarming insects begin to die off; I can finally bask on my front porch and finally use the patio furniture we bought three months ago. Leaves have begun to turn color, calling into remembrance fall afternoons of my childhood spent raking leaves with my grandmother – “Mind the rhubarb!” – and the campfire smell of burning leaves. Bath and Body Works fails to compete.
Already the requests for apple pie come in. Nearly every student – even those who “don’t like pie” – wants a piece. I’m flattered, really. Rarely are there leftovers, but the ultimate compliment came from my mother when she said I make a better apple pie than she did. Along with the apples come the pumpkins. Soon the Episcopal church will set up their Pumpkin Patch and the orange gourds of fall will mix and mingle with the 18th century gravestones. The innards will be carefully scooped and separated by me; my wife will turn them into muffins, cupcakes, and roasted seeds. We’ll spend some weekends with the cousins carving faces; I have an epic Dalek design for this year.
This month has a special reading list. Although it has nothing to do with the month, I always read The Hunt for Red October a some point in the month. This year’s reading will be bittersweet: Tom Clancy passed away last week; now I’ll never get my autographed copy. At least he finished one last book. Ray Bradbury makes two appearances this month with Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Halloween Tree. I remember seeing Halloween Tree as an animated special when I was a kid; I wonder if any stations will show it? Speaking of animated specials, be sure to watch Tim Burton’s classic stop-motion masterpiece: Nightmare Before Christmas. I found the 20th Anniversary Edition at B&N the other week. Hopefully it will go on sale after the season.
Overshadowed by Halloween, October 31 is also Reformation Day. Without intending to, Martin Luther sparked a revolt against the Catholic Church that – in turn – influenced the creation of hundreds of Protestant denominations and introduced the concept of religious freedom – an idea not seen since Justinian made Christianity Byzantium’s only legal religion. In college I used to slip random portions of the 95 Theses into student boxes or under doors. I tired passing them out to Trick-or-Treaters a few years ago, but now no-one even bothers to come to my door. Oh well; it’s just another tragic result of America’s declining educational system.
Enjoy your pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin donuts, and apple pie. Drink coffee on the front porch. Enjoy fall. Love October.