Gratitude Sunday: October Seasons: or, Falling Leaves

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Cold quickens once sun
corners autumn equinox,
slides toward winter.

Sunday Musings
September may get the glory of the equinox and the end of summer, but October seems to me more about the transition into early winter. After living here all my life I think Oregon has five seasons, sometimes six: summer, autumn, early winter, late winter, early spring, and sometimes late spring when it stays cool clear into June. In October, 70 degree days are gone, and when we hit the first frost it seems early winter is quickly upon us. Cold weather makes my bones creak, and as I age it takes a bit longer to get warmed up and going in the morning.

Here in the Willamette Valley we don’t generally get extended periods of extreme cold or snow. Notice I said generally. And because of generally, folks here generally don’t know how to handle it when we do. The past few years have been colder and snowier than usual, and we are learning a little more about being prepared when it does happen, and to be grateful when it doesn’t. I’m grateful to be able to buy ahead a bit on food and everyday items and to (mostly) have the choice not to travel in inclement weather.

For now, it is still October. The leaves are parading their colors, homecoming games are going on all over the metro area, harvest is slowing down. Pumpkins are fat, orange, and ready for the knife. After first frost no more ever-bearing strawberries, no more fresh garden ripened tomatoes, no more green beans. I’m grateful for root vegetables and squash. Have you ever tried roasting beets or carrots in olive oil with a little chopped garlic? Like vegetable candy.

With colder weather I like to bundle in with a variety of books and DVDs. I like to warm the house with oven-cooked meals, baking a sweet spice bread occasionally. I cook in smaller batches than I used to and still end up having to freeze some. The last time I took a neighbor some extra baked goods I got the weirdball side eye and had the impression the treats went straight into the trash. If so, their loss. If not, I never heard. I’m less inclined these days to endure side eye when I think I’m being friendly, so the freezer gets to save the extra treat for later. American society has changed in one way since I was small: we are afraid to know our neighbors.

When I was growing up we knew our neighbors, were welcomed in their homes and they in ours. We borrowed sugar, and eggs, and flour, and yard tools, and whatever else was needed, and re-paid it in kind. There were few fences or hedges between houses and neighbor kids ran freely between yards. We helped each other in our gardens. We gave each other rides to work and to school and to the doctor, and if there was a game or a school program often two families traveled together. When we cooked too much we shared and in some families we purposefully cooked for each other. My mom never made a batch of her famous homemade rolls that she didn’t make an extra pan for the neighbor lady next door which she made one of us kids take to her along with a jar of her homemade raspberry jam. Doesn’t happen so much these days as the myth of self-sufficiency has undermined the function of the village.

I prefer to think of the village as evolving, going through its own transition I hope. It is harder to coordinate schedules these days, especially when it takes two adults working to support the household and harder to stretch the money around. I am grateful to see so many families taking advantage of the public pool and the local lending library and playing together in the parks. I love peeking into living room windows when I walk or drive in the crepuscular light as evenings come earlier, and seeing which families still gather together, windows steamy with conversation.

The grasshopper me wants to sit and watch the leaves fall, enjoying the colors, the fragrance of the trees, the light angular and moving with the air magic of the wind, imagining air sprites hanging on each leaf and laughing as they dance on the waving leaves. The ant in me moves furniture, cleans corners, minor changes that never make much difference in the appearance of my cluttered house. I think the clutter bothers me less these days as I love the silly things I live with. Cleaning and moving them around gives me different joy; I have so much abundance I have little need for more.

October is about more to me. I will have one more year to celebrate. I have more changes, more growth accomplished, more knowledge. I have more color. I have more leaves. I have more vision toward spring. I have more abundance, as it seems for every item I discard somehow two more come into the house. More friends and family have babies each year, or marry, thus more family. More family and friends are leaving this world as the years go on, so more grief happens as well. More years in the cycle of life.

I’ve been through my spring. I sprang forth and don’t even remember the first few years, but I was nurtured and fed and soon blossomed into late spring learning everything I could. I flowered through my summer, matured, ripened, got juicy and seedy, and even managed to reproduce, statistically not easy to do. Then I started to dry up and dry out and get tired and became a little less able than before. I’m Octoberly transitioning into my early winter and I hope it’s a long transition.

I’ll gratefully take the creaking, the slowness, the whitening of the hair, the thinning of the skin. I’ll take the time to listen and freely bestow my stories upon those willing to listen. I’ll continue to exercise my brain and exercise my creaky old bones. This wild bizarre adventure of life was given to me and I get to go full tilt boogie through every season.

Color Watchcolorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – My neighborhood has all the colors and the brightest light. Fiery orange trees. Red meets red. Exotic hardy pink and purple fuchsia. Porch light on at university’s Knight Hall; Vera the ghost lives inside.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} The Talented Mr Ripley (1999, rated R) with Matt Damon. A suspenseful murder mystery, quirky and twisted. * Careful What You Wish For (2015, rated R), I thought I had gotten a chick flick but some of the bits didn’t quite add up, then slowly the nefarious plot is revealed. * Escape from New York (1981, rated R) with Kurt Russell, not exactly a horror movie, but scary, and enough graphic violence to cross over into horror. I’ve viewed this classic several times since it came out. My family used to watch it on New Year’s Eve and it was so satisfying to celebrate the ending with noisemakers. The son thought he was very grown-up to be allowed to watch an R rated movie. The plot involves politics and an alternative future, and so many of the twists are pertinent in the current political climate. Recommended. * Glengarry Glen Ross (1992, rated R) with a whole line up of famous contemporary actors like Al Pacino and Alec Baldwin, nary a woman or person of color to be seen. There’s not much scarier than an old man trying to sell you something you don’t want, other than a whole office full of them.

Currently ReadingHouse of Leaves (2000, fiction) by Mark Z Danielewski. Interactive fiction, flipping to the back for appendixes, exhibits, letters, and then the ciphers, scratch paper and pencil at the ready. The most work I’ve done for somebody else’s fiction in a long time. Definitely not easy breezy. * Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery (2009, Buddhism) by Chogram Trungpa. Dense material, lots of re-reading, but then most spirituality is heavy stuff.

Quote of the Week –
“Words are free. It’s how you use them may cost you.” Reader sign on a local church.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Finishing a twelve week course of medicine. One less pill to take. Looking forward to see if the treatment sticks and the side effects go away as well.
  • The odd dimensions of time, there is too much and there is never enough.
  • Running into my Spanish professor from university at farmers market. He is from Puerto Rico and I had no way to get in touch with him, but I had been thinking intently about him and his family these last few weeks. He assured me they had had time to prepare for the hurricane and were all safe. Not without property damage but physically safe. He let me weep in relief in his arms.
  • Hearing. Anything. Birdsong. Neighbor kids playing. Kids screaming at the pool. TV. Lifeguard’s whistle. The fridge. The car. Crickets. The fan. The house creaking. Waves. All of it.
  • My skin, elegantly water repellent, organically water loving.
  • Watching the squirrels and birds, so busy this time of year.
  • Changing angles of light, making my walls and furniture look golden, coming over my shoulder, lighting my cheek so I thought I saw flecks of gold sparkle stuck to the top of my cheek and suddenly feeling gold-sparkled all over because of the light.
  • Enjoying cleaning my clutter. Loving each item as I wash it and dry it and put it in a different place.
  • The freedom of books and DVD movies, which I can stop and start any time I need to.
  • Enjoying the spicy options the season brings, particularly gingerbread and apple spice.
  • The moon this month which has been shining through my glass door and right onto my writing area. Feeling washed and blessed in moonlight.
  • Sweet fresh corn on the cob with gobs of real dairy butter and sea salt.
  • One more box of juicy red cherry tomatoes and a few more strawberries.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Entertainment, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Nature, Photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: October Seasons: or, Falling Leaves

  1. Megan says:

    I live in a downtown Ottawa (Canada) neighbourhood. We are close to the university so there are lots of students. But I do know many of my neighbours. I do borrow eggs and occasionally a rake from neighbours and others have borrowed similar items from me. In the winter, neighbours occasionally help each other with snow shovelling and pushing stuck cars especially after a big dump of snow (and we get lots)! My daughters ran in and out of our next door neighbours house and his daughter into mine for years when they were younger. Sadly, he has moved and the house is now apartments. But it was a great experience for the kids growing up. There was definitely some car pooling of kids that happened too. Although many students can be noisy and toss their garbage everywhere others stop and pet my dog, more than one has brought that same dog home when she has snuck out the back door for some adventure. It is not what it Maybe once was but neighbourliness is not yet lost here.

    Liked by 1 person

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