Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October Reverie -- Praising the Human Season

"I'm so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers."

--L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

October is not a bad month to be born. I don't remember October leaves until I went away to college. I have no memory of the wonderful color of the leaves of fall until then. My school started in September. Leaving home, discovering a whole new world out there was something. I still remember the wondrous feeling of it all.  New friends, new adventures, new freedom. And when I walked down the streets in East Lake back then in Birmingham--the October leaves took my breath away. I remember taking picture after picture of those long streets many leaves still on the trees--walking
through a sea of leaves.I always think of that first year in college when the air gets a little nippy and the trees begin to turn. Maybe some of the scales fell off my eyes. I do not know. But something happened there and since that time October takes me back.

Somewhere I read where someone said that "In the kingdom of God it is always October." I think whoever penned those lines was right on target. I wonder if the Prodigal son didn't walk down that long road that led back home in October. Who knows? The Scriptures say: "when he came to himself..." I like to think that as he looked up from his misery and sorry choices he saw the turning leaves and he remembered how it was back home. And sure enough--getting close--seeing his father's house in the distance--he saw the trees--those beautiful trees framing the house called home--he remembered and even before he felt his father's arms around him--there was a gladness about it all.

But that was then. Two Octobers we were in Oxford, England. And what I remember most was the leaves that  covered almost all the ancient stone buildings of the colleges. In October the green leaves give way to bright reds. 

Oxford calls that season Michaelmas. The students come back. They don their black robes and parade through town. I don't know if they remember those red-leaved walls I hope so. I also recall the Sheep's Meadow which joins Christ Church College of Harry Potter fame.  I remember that college and the long green meadow and then the trees which in those Octobers were turning their fall colors. And next to the trees was the river where you find the houseboats and the punting boats and people walking through the leaves that have already fallen.

But those are only memories. Up and down my street the red maples are just beginning to turn. In Upstate South Carolina their turning comes a little later. But if you look across the lake and squint your eyes from certain spots you can see the far hills of the mountains and bits of reds and yellows and oranges just beginning to cover all the trees.

Maybe it's old age, I do not know. But I cherish of the bluest of the October skies and the colors that seem to be everywhere this season. A man named Don Robertson wrote a book with the wonderful title: Praise the Human Season. I guess that's what I am trying to do. October, for me, is the human season--and all around me I see...I see. And it is grand.


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