In praise of October

Autumn Leaves season 14

I love October in a completely illogical way. September is always a little rough—no, that’s not mysticism, but in my apparently life-long pursuit of education, well—September can be a little overwhelming. But October? I’m feeling the groove by October. I know when things are due and how much work I need to do tonight. October is good.

I love the weather in October. Pulling out the sweaters and tights, everything goes green and orange and brown. I stride through campus with my satchel and scarf flying and feel just like Betsy. I sometimes wonder if this book is the reason for my life choices. I loved the care that went into her accessorizing, the bag and the sharpened pencils—like Meg Ryan’s bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils in You’ve Got Mail—it’s basically an ode to piles of leaves and chalkboard dust and finding out if your teacher is nice. And that absolutely still applies in grad school, even if the chalk dust has been replaced by a whiteboard.

My birthday is in October. I always wonder which year will be the last I’ll enjoy with the absolute glee of a ten year old. (Whee! It’s my birthday!) When I’ll start dreading the advancing of my age, and quietly downplay the event. Maybe next year. Definitely not this one. Or maybe I’ll plan that little crisis for 35, or 40—or maybe I’ll miss it altogether. I’d love to miss it altogether—to just go from being a gleeful teenager to a gleeful thirty-something to a gleeful octogenarian and miss all that dreadful fluttering about aging.

I’m reading a biography about Julia Child (Appetite for Life, by Noel Riley Fitch), and she keeps saying things like “I didn’t actually start blooming until I was 32.” and “I found my career at 40.” Maybe that’s one of the reasons we get all twisted up about aging—we think our chances at life –at having the life we want–are diminishing.  I’m as happy as a clam, regardless of the circles under my eyes, so maybe that’s why birthdays still seem fun. Perhaps.

This post isn’t really a completed thought—it’s almost seven and, wonderful things that October might bring, a lightened schedule isn’t one of them. It’s more of, well, as Barthes would have it, a fragment of an emotion, caught and recorded, to mark the beginning of this month.

Happy October! Autumn Leaves season 14

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