October: It’s Neat!

Tonight I saw the huge, yellow moon low on the horizon and thought that yes, October is precisely the time when you expect to see such a gigantic moon, even though, really, you should be able to see them every month. There it was though, illusionarily large and round and bright and autumnal and I was happy to see and feel my absolute favorite time of year, all around.

I like October a lot. Of course, I’m biased since I was born in this month. I sort of like it by default. There are plenty of other reasons, though. This is the time when all of the leaves turn things get windy. You can now, if you want, wear a jacket. Or just a t-shirt. If you want to bust out a scarf at night, that’s perfectly alright. It’s a kind of equilibrium weather, warm and cool and windy and calm all at the same time so you can take your pick as to how you react.

There’s cider. Cider coming out of taps and in bottles that advertise the season, cider in heavy glasses on heavy wooden tables that are, indeed, around all year but seem at home in what is now unmistakably autumn.

In stores all kinds of nasty things are suddenly acceptable- toys and accessories that feature the weird and grotesque are no longer in contravention of social norms. For a bit everyone, a little, admits that they really do like the dark. They really do like, a little, things that are not exactly positive. It’s suddenly okay to revel in the strange, to enjoy the sight of blood and flesh, to admit that things that excite us and scare us are often the same. Horror movies and tubes of fake blood are consumed in record amounts, and if we are going to know anxiety and fear, at least we should have some fun with it and make sport of our own racing hearts.

Piles of leaves flurry all over the place in patterns and whorls that allow you to “see” the wind in a matter of fashion, and the really big storms that shake the trees and snap off branches start up. This is significant weather. This is not passive or monochromatic- this is not boring or endless. These winds are intent on changing the environment, bringing things down and snapping pieces of the world apart. They will make themselves heard and their presence known, and for that I respect them even if they are troublesome, because part of me prefers dynamism and action to peace unpunctuated.

Everyone gets creative. “What are you going to be for Halloween?” Ideas and hypotheticals are tossed around freely, projects are embarked on and things contrived, built, and shown off. There are parties. Often several. Portland is bedecked with advertisements for haunted venues, and I should take in at least one. This month people build personal contraptions of weird, display their own craftiness to an extent unshown otherwise, flourish their arms and say “look what I made!” (It is for this reason that my birthday party has a fanciful theme.)

October, though, seems to have this sort of balance about it. Equilibrium between the year’s other extremes and excesses. It is not summer, not winter, not cold, not hot, not anything that is somehow immoderate. It is all of those things, open to interpretation, democratic. It is transitory and therefore all encompassing (maybe I’m imagining that) and the month that I continue to love the most.

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