Saturday, October 12, 2013

October all around, but summer within

Vanessa Bell's home, East Sussex, England
     An early morning nip in the air, the distant whistle of winter, approaching. I leave the house in a buoyant mood, admire the leaves--muted reds and oranges, the color not so hot this year. The dry summer perhaps. But no matter, I still love the fall, best among the seasons, love the cooler weather, the stylish jackets, the holidays on deck: Halloween's  cheerful memento mori, the cartoon skulls, the witches dangling merrily from trees and beyond it. Then the comfort, family food fest that is Thanksgiving, the one holiday our culture wars haven't managed to screw up, yet.
     I'm an October kind of guy, I think, walking to the train. That makes sense. I'm in the October of my life, am I not? Not December—that's for the elderly. Not November—that's for seniors. But October. The anteroom of age. That feels right. That's who I am. Mr. October.
     Or am I? I always like to do the math. To double check. Say a guy like me can hope to live to be, oh, 85. If a lifetime is spread out over a calendar year, that would be about 7 years a month. So, at 53, I would be in ...
     The summer of life.
    With a smile on my lips and a spring in my step, I turn the corner and stroll toward the train station. Nothing makes it easier to accept autumn--and the prospect of dark and frozen winter to come--than to have summer warmly glowing in your heart.


  1. Unless you accept Ray Kurzweil's therory that that 125 is a realistic number, as advancements in science continue. In fact be believes that by the time we reach this "singularity" we can live forever.
    But even if it's 125 years, then you just reached May.

  2. Ray Kurzweil believes a lot of stuff. I'm not sure I'd WANT to be 125. Of course, you'd have to ask me at 124. As it is, half the time, at 53, I'm thinking, "Boy, I'm getting tired of this..."

  3. Neil,
    What would writers do after they had finally said all they wanted to and yet still had millenia of years to live? Would King Richard the First still be holding court as Mayor of Chicago? As much as I desire to live, immortality seems a particularly nasty kind of trap. It's the most inviting but also the most deadly as it would freeze a society in place.

  4. I, too, have reached the age where I'm glad this isn't going to last forever, or even close. Fine with me. Makes me savor even more these lovely first two weeks of October, also my favorite month. But today's relative grey and damp is an equal part of a perfect October, and I'll also savor the turn toward the colder and darker that's coming.


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