October has not been a good blogging month. In fact, I’m sort of been MIA.
But I’m still here and still writing…which is why I haven’t had a non-Twitter post up. Writing, and having an off-the-grid contemplation/research week, and baking birthday cakes, and reading.
October is like that for me. It’s the month when I draw breath.
I don’t know why fall is more magical for me than spring; possibly it has something to do with spring inevitably turning into summer, the three-month space during which we live in a wet superheated sponge and are repeatedly attacked by biting insects. Fall, in Virginia, turns into winter, which is only occasionally unpleasant. (Although we’re supposed to get weather patterns this year that will produce record ice storms, so I may have to eat those words.)
Or maybe it has to do with the fact that the month kicks off with the Virginia State Fair, which I’ve been going to since I was a 4-H’er in middle-school, and the Fair was the big event of my year. I still adore the State Fair. I love the way it smells: Italian sausages, cattle, sawdust and powdered-sugar drifts. I could spend hours examining farm equipment. I always come back from the State Fair with a burning desire to raise sheep.
Or maybe it has to do with death. (Bear with me.) Once you get to a certain age, there’s more poetry in fall than in spring. Fall is about passing and ending; it’s a wistful season, and what comes next is winter, harder frosts, bleaker ground, less life. But a long ways after (by which I mean April), there’s life again. Not the same life that you said goodbye to at the end of October; something that’s completely different than what you expected. Spring is all uncontrollable growth and unstoppable vitality. The kids adore it.
I like October.
In the fall I get absorbed by the quotidian; the daily details, the hour-by-hour responsibilities. The breakfasts and the stall-cleanings; the mornings verifying the exact location of medieval Iranian cities and the evenings spent walking the property line, posting PRIVATE PROPERTY, NO HUNTING OR YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED signs; the mulching and the meal-planning; even the math lessons and the SAT prep. In the spring, the quotidian annoys me. In the summer it exhausts me. In the winter, it depresses me.
In October, I think: The quotidian IS life, and for a brief time I’m enjoying it.
In my next post, I won’t get to say “quotidian” at all.