Monday, October 8, 2012

Old October

Laurel Creek, in the Pisgah National Forest
Happy Fall, All!

Yes, I’ve resorted to rhyme. Such is the state of my brain these days.

This is, by far, my favorite time of year. And October is the best month of them all to be living where I do, in the mountains of Western North Carolina. The colors, the crisp air, the blue skies, the pumpkin patches and corn mazes, the smell of woodsmoke, hiking leafy trails, and the influx of tourists to my tiny mountain town—I love it all.

In honor of the glorious month of October, and of Autumn in general, here are Five of my Favorite Fall Things:

1. The leaf-changing.

Driving through town last week and looking up towards the Blue Ridge Parkway, I can see that the patchworking has already begun: yellows emerge first, then the reds and oranges, and soon the mountains around my tiny town will be aflame with Fall colors. The change is oh-so-brief, which makes it more the mystical, more the special. It’s breath-taking.

In our team colors
2. College football.

I am a Clemson Tiger: most of my family members graduated from the university, and my great-grandfather was even Mayor of Clemson back in the day. My blood runneth orange. And I absolutely adore college football. This being the busiest Fall of my life thus far, we haven’t physically made it to a game yet. But in my house, on game day, we get the DVR ready, wear our colors, and fire up the grill. Then we settle in for Saturday heaven.
3. Fleece.

Now that a chill is officially in the air and the flip-flops have been put away, it’s time to bring the bins of cold-weather clothes down from our attic. Since my husband and I spent years working in outdoor/experiential education (basically, playing in the woods with kids for weeks on end), we own a lot of fleece clothing. Fleece is a beautiful thing, especially when you live in a house built in 1948. In fact, I write this post from the comfort of my favorite fleece pants. Ahh.

4. Voting.

Yes, I really mean that. Yes, I am aware of the asinine political ads littering local TV and the Internet, and (cough), peoples’ lawns. But when we wade through the malarkey and the posturing and the pomp, hoist ourselves above the shallow surface of what a candidate looks like or sounds like or where they go to church or how much money they make, what we get is a piece of the history cake. A chance to do our research, narrow our options, and vote with our brains and hearts and guts for the leaders of our school boards, our towns, our states and our country. It’s an historic right, and an elegant, inestimable privilege. Plus, it’s a helluva lot of fun.

My town's Halloween festival
5. Being home.

Thomas Wolfe wrote, "All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travellers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken."

And isn’t this the truth? In October, that fire-filled month, I want nothing more than to sit by the familial hearth, enjoy the treasures of my town, and stare up into the sky where I live. I long for the easy reach of my loved ones, my dog at my feet.

Wherever you are, I hope that your October is all of this, and more.