Goodbye, October

It hit me in the middle of class today, as I talked to my silly, smiley, sixth graders about narrative paragraphs...the realization that October is over. Panicked, my eyes searched the scenery outside of my classroom window, and sure enough, everything had changed. Gone were the brilliant reds and golds of the tenth month (because we really did have a beautiful autumn this year), replaced by muted, brownish versions; skeleton trees clinging to the last remnants of vegetation. Later, while walking to my car, the shiver I felt as the wind whipped across my face ran deep; a sign of colder days to come. And here at home, yesterday's freshly carved pumpkin now stares at me with wilted, rotting insolence.

Barry Manilow sings a song about the passing of October, and the tune's mournful tone is fitting now. While I know that soon I will be distracted by the upcoming festivities of Thanksgiving and Christmas, it's always these first days of November that leave my heart feeling bleak and dejected. I think it's really the same regret I feel each year for letting October fly so quickly; for not taking that walk on a golden afternoon or hosting that caramel-corn/cinnamon-cider autumn party. And, oh, how October flies. Like Christmas or summer vacation, my mind approaches my favorite month with a false sense of timelessness, as though October were filled with endless glowing days.

This October was no different, jam-packed with social events and duties, with Halloween happenings and parent-teacher conferences, with football games and pumpkin patches. October 2010 started with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: meeting Hanson, my all-time favorite band, and ended with a live performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In between, I escaped to the fiery colors of the Midwest (trees/NIU football/Morgan), and watched over 500 people band together in a fundraiser for my friend John. I laughed with my students every day, and formed a serious addiction to pumpkin seeds. I lost a grandfather, and gained a new (albeit painful) understanding of what defines friendship. I read books, for both pleasure and purpose. I listened to music...tasted pumpkin pie and caramel apples...and marveled at the saturated blue and orange hues of sunset that only October brings. It was, as always, a wonderful month.

The one upside to saying goodbye to my favorite month is the knowledge that it will return - that from this point forward, I get to anticipate the arrival of golden October once again. Oh, and the November 1st arrival of eggnog lattes at Starbucks helps, too. :)

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