October is here…or at least it was.
October 30, 2016
For me, this is a long awaited and much coveted month. I was born in October. Perhaps this lends a bit of nostalgia to the month itself. Mostly however, I think that October brings a beautiful freshness to the eye and mind with the ever changing, always exhilarating palette of chromatic foliage. As those longer nights flirt with the dancing leaves in darkness, lethargic bees search in vain like like drunkards in their slow and dizzying flights for any remnants of the sweet nectar from the summer’s dried and dying blossoms. Bright butterflies are drawn to the azalea blooms with soft and delicate landings. Although daylight wanes at an even pace each fall, it is the amount of moisture in the soil and the weather itself that ensure a uniquely different autumn each year. The trees slow down their production of chlorophyll, (which is produced during the growing season and gives leaves their green color) thus revealing the distinctive golden, orange, and yellow hues of carotenoid pigments that have been ever present, but hidden by the abundance of chlorophyll. A third pigment (or class of pigments really) that occur in leaves are the anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are especially common in berries, including blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and blackberries. Anthocyanins absorb blue, blue-green, and green light. Therefore, the light reflected by leaves containing anthocyanins appears red. Those cool evenings and fresh mornings whisper to us that the hot, dusty imprisonment of summer’s long days have come to an end.
It’s time to get out and bike, or hike without the brutality of triple digits sucking the life out of us!
Well, this is what I would normally say anyway. This entire month, I have put off posting this… just waiting for ‘october’ to show up. It is now the day before halloween and I am finally posting this. Today we hit a high of 87 degrees. A possible record high. We are also in a drought, which is kind of crazy for a ‘sub-tropical’ zone that touts no dry season. With that being said, I have not been able to photograph any amazing fall foliage or dewy leaf covered lawns. Instead, lawns are dry and dusty – trees are drab and mostly still green. How sad that October was forgotten this year.
Most years people say the same thing throughout the seasons, “it’s never this hot” or “I cannot remember a winter this cold!”. Early into this summer when it was very humid and oh so hot – even early in the mornings, I actually said to a neighbor on a morning walk: “I don’t know what I was thinking back in February when I said that I could not wait for summer to arrive!?” Yet, here I am, once again looking towards the cool, freshness that a southern winter will bring to me. How quickly we forget. But, with October just being a long extension of summer this year, I want to forget the dry, thirsty heat and the dusty haze that has hung on for way too long.
Having lived for a more than a decade in northwest Ohio, with its bitter cold winters, a couple of years in southeastern Wiltshire, in the UK with its balmy, wet and rainy climate, and an entire childhood in East Texas/Southwest Arkansas- I begrudgingly respect the sultry hot south that I once again call home. For those of us who truly have a four seasons where we live, we absolutely love, anticipate and happily embrace each change. We look forward to each season with renewed vigor throughout the years, no matter how short our memories might be regarding the details on the heat or cold! I feel a bit cheated this month- no doubt about it.
I did joyfully celebrate my birthday a couple of weeks ago, and loved the few crisp mornings that we did have this October. But now, I guess I am looking forward to November, for surely I will get to see some spender of fall foliage! As I bid farewell to my 2016 October, and enter into the true celebratory harvest month, my goal is to be thankful- out loud and with more conviction than ever before to the people with whom I share my love and my life. To my husband, my children, my extended family and my friends, I wish you all a happy November!