Thursday, October 26, 2017


                                                            A yellow leaf fell

                                                            on a black dog’s back

                                                            rode for a while

                                                            then drifted on.

I love October in N.E. Ohio. It makes me think of the Dylan Thomas poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Yes, Dylan Thomas wrote it during the final illness of his father, but I see October as making a last brave stand against the closing of the year by going out in a blaze of glory. At least that’s true here in the north.

Everywhere I look this time of the year, the colors are rich and vibrant. At the beginning of the month the fields were filled with goldenrod and purple asters. Soon the leaves started to turn to orange, red, amber, gold, purple and burnt umber. Orange pumpkins, like round globes appeared at roadside stands, farmers’ markets and in stores. Corn stalks are gathered for decorations. Even the sky seems a more vivid blue.

I just got back from a trip to New York State with two sisters, and the friend of the one sister, who is the mother of the bride getting married. We passed through part of Ohio where we live, mostly through Pennsylvania, a short distance through New Jersey and then into New York State. We were pretty much mesmerized by the beautiful trees changing their colors although we noticed that they were late in doing so probably because there hadn’t been any killer frosts, but we still admired the forests with the trees changing colors and the trees around homes and on the hillsides.

I love the crisp autumn days with cold nights and cool mornings often warming up later in the day. And then there’s Indian summer giving me that last bit of time when I can try to finish up all those chores that should have been done by now, but I didn’t quite get around to. Now I can’t procrastinate any longer. My time is running out. Not only do I need to finish planting the rest of my exuberant purchases, but there are large clumps of daylilies to be divided and replanted and daffodils that my occasional handyman dug up as he worked to redo an overgrown garden of mine. Of course, before that can be done, I need to prepare a place for those plants to go. All the cannas and dahlias need to be dug up, stalks and leaves removed, and the roots and rhizomes cleaned, dried and packed in dried leaves or wood chips and taken to the basement for the winter. The vegetable garden needs stripped of dying vegetation and bedded down for the winter.

Fortunately, I like to rake leaves even though it does get tiring when you have as many as I do. The armfuls of leaves I fill my wheelbarrow with are fluffy light reminding me of those long- ago days of jumping in piles of them. What fun that was. Now I’m too old. It would take a very big pile to cushion my fall. I consider raking leaves my workout since I don’t go to a gym nor do I have any equipment in my home. When the leaves have dried enough, I’ll mow through them to chop them up then use them to mulch my gardens. I also have a lot of pine needles around my house which are a bigger problem because Maggie brings them in the house on her coat, and they cover the patio table and chairs and the sunroom roof.  Most of those I save to mulch my blue-berry patch or woodland gardens which like the acid.

One of my favorite activities in the fall is my morning walk through the woods with Maggie. I enjoy the rustling sound of leaves as I walk through them and the smell that’s unique to fallen leaves, a mixture of a pungent earthy scent with a touch of sweetness, too. A question that I always have in the fall is how did Native Americans move silently through the woods when hunting? I can even hear my soft pawed dog moving. When I was still teaching, I gathered leaves on that walk to dry them for art projects for my students. I’m still tempted to do that because the forest floor is a mosaic of jewel-like leaves that all too soon will lose their colors and turn brown.

October also brings Halloween. It’s a fun holiday where kids and adults can dress up, play games and get treats, too. It’s a time of ghosts, skeletons, ghouls and other things that go bump in the night, but also princesses, football players, scarecrows and less fearsome trick or treaters.  I enjoy seeing the Halloween decorations many people decorate their homes or yards with. Some people believe Halloween promotes witchcraft and evil. I don’t think that’s any truer than mystery writers, readers or movie viewers are more prone to murder. Halloween dispels fear of the boogey man. Once a child dons a costume and sees other children doing the same, no matter how gruesome the costume, the child begins to put many fears aside. Back before Halloween parties and parades were discontinued in schools, my students, fellow teachers and I had so much fun on that day and with the preparations that led up to it.
She's not to sure about wearing this outfit & wig.

I think Halloween is a fitting end for October. I used to enjoy passing out candy to the trick or treaters who came to my door, but now that I live out in the country on a busy road with no children living nearby, I no longer get those happy cute little trick or treaters. That’s okay because I always had candy left over after Halloween night was over and I don’t need to eat all those Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups I always bought – candy I love and can’t resist.

Here's my great-granddaughter without her costume.

What do you like about the month of October?

How do you feel about Halloween?


  1. Wonderful pictures and a great tribute to fall. I love all four seasons. OK, when we're in Maine, I can do without mud season, but that's not an official one, just seems like it. Fall is a particular favorite though, especially when the maples turn their bright red/orange. We are above the oak line in my part of Maine so we don't have the brilliant red of oak.

    Maggie looks very happy playing in the leaves, as does your wee one. It's the perfect setting!

  2. October was historically my favorite month. With my move up to the 46th latitude, most years that favorite month now starts a week or two earlier than October 1! Not his year: Fall colors were very late and we had warm temperatures all through the month until the last few days.

    After the colors drop from the trees to cover the ground, the view into the woods grows long and is made even longer with the slanted light of a sun lower in the sky.

    ~ Jim


  3. Kait I've been to Maine three or four times, but ever in the fall. Maple trees are the brightest of colors in the fall.

    Jim, many of our trees have yet to change colors, too, and most of the month was warm. Only in the last few days did I have to tur the furnace on. Every season has something positive about it. For you being able to see through the woods must feel good for you. You'll be heading south soon, won't you?

  4. September and October are my favorite months, the blue hydrangea blossoms fading to mauve, asters, sedums, anemones, and mums in the garden. The goldfinches gorge on coneflower seeds, the waxwings on mulberries. Grackles and starlings fly in large flocks. The sun hangs lower in the sky, its filtered light streaming through the red, orange, and red maple and ash trees.

    It's the season for mists and mellow fruitfulness, apples and cider, heartier meals, and darkness falling earlier. And the World Series.

    It's a season of contemplation before the craziness of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    Enjoy your fall, Gloria! Great photos.

  5. One of the problems of living on an island out in the Atlantic is few deciduous trees live here. We have few color variations. In the spring, we went to Atlanta. The trip along the way was so colorful--I had forgotten about spring! Now that it's fall, I am missing the colors--but we're going to my son's for Thanksgiving so I'm hoping that some of the foliage is still brilliant. Loved the pictures of Maggie! I want a few pictures of your ponies, too!

  6. Thank you, Margaret, I will. I'm glad you enjoy those seasons, too.

    Elaine, each area has their own reasons to enjoy them. I'm sure you are very happy with where you live now. I love spring, too. It's so exciting to see new flowers pop up and bloom after a long cold winter. Winter has its beauty, too, with the white snow or when the trees and shrubs are covered with ice and glitter in the son like a fairyland. It's also the time of the year when I can get more writing done. The trees were late in turning colors here so maybe there will still be some colorful colors for Thanksgiving.

    Maggie, is a beautiful dog, isn't she. I've had numerous collies over the years, but she's the prettiest of them all, and the sweetest, too. In the six and a half years I've had her she only growled once at a small yappy dog I was housesitting with who was an obnoxious pest. Once when my granddaughter was keeping her while I was on vacation, she came around the corner to see her two year old daughter pulling Maggie's tongue out to see how long it was and Maggie allowed it.

  7. October has always been my favorite month. The fall colors in Pennsylvania were fantastic and we had crisp fall days. Not so much here in Virginia. It is nearly November, and in our area, the trees are still mostly green and the days have been fairly warm. Not complaining, but I sure miss the crisp fall days. I'm heading to Maine soon, but I'm sure the trees will be bare there before I arrive.

  8. One of my all time favorite holidays. Wish we got tricker treaters down here on the river, but we don't. I still decorate, and I love posting a month of themed items on FB. This year it was wreaths. Go look.

  9. I love October - the sky always turns the deepest shades of blue which looks great with all the trees turning. This time of year feels like nature throwing a big party before everything goes quiet for winter.
    Loved seeing Maggie and your great grand girl. She did look a lot happier without that wig on!

  10. Grace, when we came through Pennsylvania this past week there was some changing of color, but not nearly as much as it's been in past years. If you get to Maine in the next few weeks, you might still see trees in color. Here in N.E. Ohio they're just starting to turn in the last few days.

    Warren, do you get the colorful trees there as we do here?

    Pat, I enjoyed trick or treaters when I lived in a neighborhood where it was a dead end street with lots of children. It was even more fun when I was teaching third grade and all
    my kids changed into costumes after lunch to parade around the small town of Hiram, or if
    the weather was bad, around the halls and gym. We teachers dressed up, too. I know you
    decorate for every holiday, but I pretty much don't except for Christmas when I have people
    coming for Christmas Day and other times, too. Then I go all out.

    Shari you live in an area known for the changing of seasons. At least I think most of New England is known for its fall colors. Ellie was only about two years old in that picture.
    The other was taken outside the cute fairy tale style play house my son built for his grandchildren with everything purposefully crooked. He said it took longer to build it
    that way than perfectly straight.

  11. I love autumn! Bright sunlight, warm sweaters, brilliantly colored leaves, high school bands playing for football games.

  12. Kathleen, I agree with you. Even though I'm not going to football games, I remember the high school bands playing when I did.