October 1, 2009

Welcoming October

Early or Late?Image by NatalieMaynor via Flickr
October has been my favorite month of the year as long as I can remember. When I was a child, growing up on the West Coast, October signified the beginning of fall. It was when the leaves changed, when one would first notice a nip in the air, and of course, it was the month of Halloween. October doesn't hold the same magic today. There is no fall season here in Mississippi, as summer turns to "winter" rather abruptly. And Halloween is frowned upon by the legions of Southern Baptists who occupy this state. These days, I may watch more horror movies during October than usual, but that is about it.

What I remember most about October from my childhood was that it was a time of transition. Summer clothes were put away as the weather changed. The plants that drove me crazy with allergies during the summer months disappeared, and I could breathe freely again. Time seemed to move more quickly as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas gave me things to anticipate.

And how I used to love Halloween! Even when I was too old for the door-to-door candy begging ritual and no longer believed in ghosts, monsters, and gods, Halloween was special. It was about mischief. It was about hiding behind the mask of anonymity. It was the one night when we would cause trouble for no reason other than the date. I did plenty of stupid things on Halloween. While I wouldn't do such things now, I remember many of them fondly, even if some carry a twinge of guilt.

October always seemed to be about possibility. With the various markers of transition and change, it felt like new possibilities were on the horizon. Things might be different, and they might be so in exciting ways. Maybe that is what I most miss today.