Archive for October 4th, 2021

October Country, that country where it is always turning late in the year.  That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain…  –  Ray Bradbury

My 2011 essay “Moondance” was mostly an examination of the psychological and philosophical consequences of modern people’s disconnection with nature, but it also included the following:

October usually enjoys a particular sort of cool weather, a crisp breeziness quite unlike that one might experience on an early spring day or a comparatively warm winter one; this is October Weather, my name for that special atmospheric condition I associate with turning leaves and the imminent arrival of my birthday. In New Orleans I was often cheated of it…but when [it] did arrive I was filled with a sort of wild, witchy joy; I wanted to stay out late, to suck the fragrant air into my lungs and fly through the night under the harvest moon with my hair streaming behind me. As a young teen I often sneaked out in the middle of the night to enjoy such weather, and after I arrived at UNO I would wander about the campus on such evenings or ride my bicycle to midnight movies…And though as I age my reaction to October Weather isn’t nearly as strong as it was in my teens and twenties, on clear, cool October nights I still feel the urge to go out and dance in the dry leaves under the moon.

I’m now a decade further from those days than I was when I penned those lines, and my days of dancing under the moon are long gone; each October takes me still further, and now my reaction to October weather is less euphoria and more blessed relief from the discomfort and anxiety produced by the excessive light and heat of summer.  October is more than just my native month; it is my native country, and the time in which I have always been most at peace and (paradoxically for a time associated with haunts, dying vegetation and the dying year) felt most alive.  I’ve always had a taste for the weird and macabre, for spooky tales and shadow-shows, for rain and dry leaves and pumpkins, for black cats and the imagery of wild woods, sunless seas, and catacombs; I was “Goth” long before either the term or the subculture existed.  So it should be no surprise to anyone that I gravitated first toward a profession associated with musty books, and later toward one associated with the night, nor that as I aged I moved my habitation westward (the direction historically associated with death) to finally settle in the region of this continent with the least sunlight and the most rain.  These days, I mostly celebrate this Month of Months with the watching of horror movies, culminating in my birthday; if you’d like to help me celebrate by sending a token of your esteem, I’d very much welcome that.  And as you’ve probably already guessed, many of the selections are very much in keeping with the season.

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