October ripens with color and change

October is the lonesome voice of an owl calling from the darkened woods, the silver rim of a new moon awakening in the night skies and acorns falling and the color of summer’s worn leaves making their final rainbow showing. It’s the gold and scarlet of ripening sumac leaves and berries, wearing the stark brilliance of redbirds flitting about the birdfeeder.

October is awakening to warm morning mists, filling the lowlands and spreading like a gray blanket over lakes and river, slowing traffic. Fog is a mingling of mood and weather you can feel against your face and in your hair, yet it is not exactly weather – it’s more a river of moisture spreading across the landscape, gently, without sound, offering a muffling and soothing effect.

October comes rich in color, bright as a bitterroot berry. The high country is taking on festive tones; the bluefish and trout are awakening and responding to the fishermen’s offerings. Nets are being patched as the aroma of wood smoke provides an irresistible invitation to join in a mullet roast beneath the century-old live oak and to listen to the lap of wavelets and the muttering of seabirds and mosquitoes, while watching a flight of waterfowl winging against the light of a newly awakening moon.

October brings a hint of chill. It means homecomings, cheerleaders, football, pumpkin pie and apple pie mixed well with barbeque and pig roasting. It’s the summation of a year that has ripened on the vine and is now ready for picking.