Columnist’s Note: It may be because I was born in October, or maybe that I joined the navy in October, or just the fact that mosquitoes are no longer buzzing around my head in October. It could be that I wrote this piece in October, and the day was so perfect I couldn’t imagine wanting to go past it, that makes me think October is the best month of the year. I believe it is the month when the earth makes an almost audible sigh here in Missouri, and says, “Now I can rest for a while.” Actually it is for all those reasons and more that I love October, and this memory is offered on that theme.
October is my favorite month of the year. It is a time of cool crisp mornings, that makes a cup of coffee not only taste better, but almost necessary. It is a time of mild afternoons that pull me outside to watch squirrels gather nuts, and it is a time of clear cool nights, when the moon seems close enough to touch.
October in Missouri is a time artists must use every color on their pallet to capture the beauty nature displays, and a time the more poetic among us would find it hard to express that beauty in words. October is a time for long walks in the woods or any other activity that gets you outside. October is the month when one day can be cool enough for sweaters, and the next warm enough for tee shirts, while one night can call for a fire, and the next a fan. It can be as turbulent as spring or as quiet as a summer day.
As my wife and I drove through the country the other day we could see the trees have begun to display that variegated pattern, which will last until the wind strips their leaves from their branches to carpet the ground. When I think about the leaves covering the ground, it brings back other memories of falls during my childhood, and those piles of leaves I used to jump on and burrow into back then. I remember the smell of the leaves, and the crunchy sounds they made as I walked on them. I remember the distinctive smell of the smoke as people burned the fall leaves each year. As I look out my window now I can see the wind is hard at work relieving the trees of their colorful leaves, which I will have to eventually rake into piles fortunately I have grandchildren who will make good use of them.
My wife and I sit on our front porch with our morning coffee every month, but none of those other months approach the perfection of an October morning. Most years October falls into the Goldilocks zone of temperatures of not too hot and not too cold here in Missouri, and when I add a good cup of coffee, and good conversations with my wife on that porch it feels like a perfect combination.
Jack Miller is a longtime Sedalia resident whose column will run in the Weekend edition of the Democrat.