Perhaps not surprisingly, October seems to be almost everyone’s favorite month. And it’s not unusual to hear that Halloween plays a major part in delivering that favor. Well, I like Halloween too, but that’s not why October is my favorite month. For me, it has more to do with the weather, the colorful trees, and the beginning of a festive spirit lasting till Christmas.
Past few seasons have been too warm for a typical east coast October, and that seems to confuse the trees. The beautiful October colors came and went so quickly, that I missed them – it was just too warm. I may have forgotten to look, but regardless, It hurt my feelings. I dearly love those fall colors, and frequently head into the woods in search of that perfect photo – you know the one I mean. The last two years, I found myself surrounded by a sea of brown instead of vibrant color. I too felt confused.
But this year is different – Fall is back, baby! I am encouraged. The leaves seem to be falling properly, color is beginning to slowly show… I better get my camera ready soon; keep my eyes open, if for no other reason, than because you never know when it might be your final Autumn.
I don’t mean to be an instant downer, but am I wrong? Any number of personal or universal calamities could befall us. Climate change could totally destroy the kind of Autumn affability that so many of us love. Personal tragedy can come suddenly, with swift finality. City planners could decide to unearth our color-bearing friends to make way for yet another strip mall.
We need to embrace this whole concept of Fall right now, or as Paul Simon said, hold it “close to our hearts – warm against cold” (something like that). We should celebrate the transformation of each leaf, revel in the majesty of the process, and admire the message that even the most beautiful of all, must fall to the ground, crumble and disappear. Dust to dust.
Yes, I am reminded of the metaphor because someone close to me is fighting for her life, but it’s so much more obvious than that – we need to pay attention and rejoice in the sheer, unmitigated gall of the season. Autumn shares its glorious arrogance and gracefully blesses us so memorably in the face of certain dissolution. How dare we not notice such a powerful exit, as if saying “Look at me. I will be back, even better!” So righteous and beatific.
I suppose it makes sense to celebrate Halloween as the color starts to fade, because In spite of what Halloween commemorates, it also marks our acceptance of the seasonal change; heralds in the winter; gives us cause to celebrate the assurance that there is beauty in all times, and in all ways. I’m too old for tricks or treats; too achy and tentative for apple bobbing. My days of dressing up have long passed, and my desire to decorate wanes a little more each year. Warm feet are my irritable priority now, but more and more these days, I find great elation in those colorful leaves, and I bid them adieu sadly, hopefully believing they will return soon – bigger and brighter. They remind me that a more complete meaning of life is not found solely in the living of it. Sometimes there is revival in demise – that even in endings there is the hope of commencement. So I will not say goodbye, for we will meet again.