Did you pick out a good, fat pumpkin and carve a scary face on him? Did you dress up like a cat and prowl on the town just like my oldest did last night, while I contentedly read a page turner of a story by, yes, you guessed it, the light of two candles. Are you wrapping up October by working methodically through your Christmas shopping? If so, I admire you and can we be friends?
Even though the frost has claimed the nightsong of crickets, and the four o’clocks beside my mailbox will no longer wave at my nice postman, I cannot bear to toss away the last of my rosemary and Boston ferns. They live under the shelter of a huge old maple that’s finally! turning scarlet at her roots. Okay, she’s going red at the top but that sugar maple reminds me of a fair maiden, tresses cascading down almost to her knees. Are your trees having a party right now and have gone giddy in showing who they truly are? All those yellows and oranges that used to lie hidden behind their politely green summer facades?
I’ve been trying to capture the trees in sunlight but she’s hiding these days and with the very dry autumn, I’m only granted glimpses of October. This is an unusual autumn but not unexpected. She arrives every year, thankfully. But this past week my only brother had texted about being two hours away on a job (he lives 500 miles away so having him in my state made me happy). I missed his text saying he would stop by in the morning for a quick visit. That night I decided I desperately needed a good, deep sleep and placed my phone out of earshot, and for good measure, plugged in two noise machines (my husband claims if I could only find a nice 747 plane to idle in my room, I would sleep like a baby), and with my blackout shades shutting out the feeble sun, I slept for a very long time. And missed my brother, except the whole world tried to message me to just wake up.
We found one another and he begged for coffee at our usual watering hole and since I had just arisen, I had bed head, and that tousled hair thing is a lie, I tell you men out there, and I had sweats on because, yeah, I sleep in them. Please don’t judge just yet. No makeup either. And so I decided brushed teeth were in order and shoes, which did match my sweats. And no one at my usual place of espresso-ing batted an eyelash, which tells me I must look unkempt no matter how much I try, or the employees are unfailingly not judgmental. My brother and I laughed away our two hours and his unexpected visit brightened up a gloomy Monday.
The other unexpected surprise dawned over the weekend, when a pipe burst just outside our home and torrents of water cascaded down our front yard and into my neighbors’. They discovered this long before I did. I think I really need to sleep without the blackout shades because yeah, I slept through an hour of losing gallons of precious water. Remember our dry autumn? I think I just made up for it and my neighbors like me again. And what amazed me, when I tried to brush my teeth and “wow, we have no water!” is a friend of my husband’s was at my door within three minutes. My husband was hunting down at our rustic cottage and he claims all he could hear when I frantically phoned him, was “water everywhere, it’s a flood!”. Guys from my husbands work showed up to work all weekend on digging up the bad plastic pipe and fix it all so I could have running water again. The kindness of others astonishes me. Makes me want to laugh and cry at that same time.
I want to be that person who spontaneously helps. I once watched a friend’s house burn to the ground one long night. We lived way in the country and by the time the firemen got there, they could do nothing. I felt awful, sick and so very sad. But the very next morning, calls were made and I felt lucky to take some of their salvaged clothes and wash the smoke stench from them. Not a campfire, cozy, fun smell, but a terrible, acrid smell that I did not want my friend’s children to ever experience again. It feels so good to help. Helping others make you feel better about yourself. Dare I say happier?
I’m throwing in odd bits of autumn pics that make my heart sing with happiness. The path to our cottage, the way sunlight slants in the short afternoons, the decorating I do for the season. I hope the pictures make you happy too.
Let’s decide right now to break out and do something unexpected! Walk outdoors even on a dreary day. Especially on a dreary day. Meet up with friends and stop comparing outfits. Besides I just made a Target run today and had no idea how cute their clothes are! And when I went out to dinner tonight, my friend was wearing clothes, beautiful clothes from Target.
I live in a neighborhood were a “friend” accosted me at a ladies wine night by disparaging my clothes to all the “ladies” gathered around gossiping. I felt low and hollow that night long ago. Now? I’d laugh and say, “you got it girlfriend, who’s not my girlfriend, I am rocking clothes from a discount chain. So what? I’m happy. Are you?” It took me too long to figure out what you probably know this minute. You are more than the clothes you wear, the car you might drive, the place you live. That is not you. No! Well…if you’re desperately trying to tell yourself that all the trappings of the world matter so much, too much, then stop yourself and breathe and join us.
Help others. Stop being judgie. Start rocking an inexpensive shirt. Meet the day sans makeup. The whole day. Unless you’re gunning for that promotion. Then well… We only have a few times around the sun to make this place, our world, and other people happier. Guess what? It makes us happier too. That and cozy sweaters, warm fires on chilled evenings, a good movie watched at home where you can relax, a walk through the woods on a windy day just so you can watch the leaves twirl down in their impromptu dance. And one more thing… large candy bars handed out on Halloween. Yup! I’m not all pro-Halloween in the celebrate death and super scary stuff (I can’t sleep then, big surprise), but I think if you turn off your lights and make the trick or treaters pass by, you miss out. Hand out candy! Join the kids in the plain fun of seeing how much candy they can possibly collect in two hours. And maybe eat a candy bar or five. I hear chocolate makes a person very happy. Happy Halloween and Happy end of October!
Next? November and all she means…