Our two large cottonwoods, lone apricot and big red bud trees have only just begun to lose their leafy load so the best (or worst depending on how you look at it) is still to come. Nevertheless, I enjoy the process; the excuse to be outside in the fresh air smelling the October earth and feeling the lean toward winter. There is bitter sweetness in all of this because, as friends who know me will attest, I am not a winter person. After the leaves have all fallen, and daylight savings kicks in, and the major holidays have passed I grit my teeth, hunker down, and settle into a kind of hibernation.
But I glory in October when the city streets are afire in a kind of suspended animation and crackling calm before the storms; when the nearby canyons cloak themselves in shady coolness; when the neighbors are out cleaning roof gutters and pulling up the shriveled remnants of tomato and zucchini plants. In October I usually squeeze in a desert trip or two. I gorge myself on photography and sunlight that settles like glass over the valley. I buy pumpkins with my daughter and put scarecrow sentinels on the front porch.
October, for me, carries with it so many connections, mysteries, and heartfelt emotions. It is a golden thread that passes all too quickly into memory. That odd ephemeral month that puts the hot summer well behind us while winter beckons just over the ridges to the north.