Something about the gray sky the last couple of mornings should have tipped me off. I woke up today after spending a great deal of dream time at my childhood friend's funeral. I was a little frustrated by this event, since I have consciously moved over the past several years to make October about something besides mortality. Just last night my wife was asking me, "How's your month so far?" I told her that I was fine and hadn't really given it much of a thought - until then - so I suppose I could blame her for the dark and dreary night that I spent inside the church of my mind. Or maybe it was there all along, just waiting to surface.
No matter, since it's here, why not drag it out into the light and take a look at it? I am glad that the past few years have made me less morose, if not more contemplative. And if I were to spend any time during the year contemplating life and death, autumn makes perfect sense. Days grow shorter. Leaves fall from trees. The weather grows colder. It's a metaphor, get it?
Why not? Many moons ago, I got some great advice from a therapist about this time of year: "All relationships end," she told me, "so revel in the moments that you have together."A simple enough sentiment. It could easily be stitched into a pillow or worn on a T-shirt, but no one had bothered to say it to me in so many words. Or maybe I hadn't been listening. It was about that same time when a friend of mine, sensing my autumnal distress, brought me a vivid selection of fallen leaves she had collected. She intended it as a reminder of the beauty found in October - in the passing of the year. I pressed them between the pages of my Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, under "fall." Right between "faith healing" and "familiar." They're still there, faded only slightly, still holding their color.