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KPBS Commentaries

October. The month my life gets a whole lot better.

Scattered about my office, I have a little scarecrow, two pumpkin candles, a wire pumpkin candy dish, three little maize stalks, a candle that has all kinds of jack-o-lanterns and witches and leaves on ityou get the idea. I have a throw with the four seasons on it, one season for each quarter of the blanket. In October, I turn the blanket to Fall.



My birthday is in the Fall. When the clock "falls back" I've always felt hipper, because I can stay up way past dark; in the Fall, Im more of a night person.



I have "fallen" in love, hard, in the Fall. During the school years, I fell in love just about every Fall, starting in about grade two. In the fall, girls are next to you every day in school; they become consolidated, are placed together with you again, and can become much easier to Fall in love with.



I dress better in the Fall, largely because I look killer in sweaters. And the colors of the clothes appeal to me more. Brown becomes fashionable when you bring in a little orange, a little black. These are colors that let you fade into nature.



I am more observant in the Fall because there is just more to see. Color is rebirthed. Sometimes just one leaf can have colors I have never seen before in nature. The sky has a softer hue in the Fall: the blue is sleepier, the whites are softer, and the sun doesn't soak you with heat. Light is now its emphasis, illuminating the change of nature.



Baseball stops in the Fall, and football begins. The weekends get bigger.



The air smells different. You begin to smell wood smoke out of chimneys. The smell of rain is in the air. And the wind fills your head with the smells of leaves and wet grass and crisp mornings.



I think better. Cooler air clears my head. I'm sharper when the temperature dips below 50.



I hug better, too. I think people allow this more in the Fall because there is at least one more layer of clothing between your body and theirs. A little burst of warmth goes with the affection, too, so it adds a nice dimension to being held.



Windows stay closed longer. The house becomes a place to huddle. Blankets are brought out. Sweatshirts replace t-shirts. Socks get a little thicker. Life gets a little more cushioning. Fall turns the volume down to a rustle.



I am unaccustomed to being quiet. These days, so many of us are. TV, radio, traffic noiseit is constant. It vibrates in our ears long after it stops.



But the Fall offers me more peace. It is the first time all year that I can sit still. I have found joy in sitting and thinking about very little, moving hardly at all, watching the air fly through the trees, having no thought at all about anything but the swing of the branches.



I am going to retreat to my office, and look at my windowsill filled with the reminders of this wonderful time of year. I will listen to James Taylors "September Grass" and "October Road" over and over again, softly. Then my mind will be eased back into the quiet. My head falls back, my eyes will close, and my arms will fold over my chest. I am so grateful to be here today.



I will hold this season to my heart. I will breathe it inside of me.

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