October is an assault on the senses with color that changes from moment to moment.
The lush green leaves give way to subtle shades of orange, yellow, maroon and brown that cause one to stop and contemplate all of life’s gifts.
Later when the leaves begin to fall, people flock to their yards to enjoy the beautiful weather.
Driving through most communities, you will see mounds of leaves and columns of smoke that hang in the air like fog after a rain. The aroma of burning leaves in the air smells like expensive incense.
When I was in the Army in the tropics, the weather rarely changed. The only seasons were ones where it rained, and ones where it rained a lot more.
In October, all the guys there were missing autumn. The sister of a platoon buddy sent him a care package and used autumn leaves as packing material.
We headed to the beach that evening, built a campfire and burned the leaves a handful at a time.
The smell of those burning leaves sent us all home for a little while.
Another thing I love about October is that the kinds of food we eat change. We have no more fresh tomatoes in our garden, but the greens are coming up.
Jilda stepped down to the apple tree yesterday and picked a half dozen apples the size of softballs.
She then baked a fresh apple pie that tasted as good as any dessert I’ve ever put into my mouth.
But autumn is also a metaphor for where I am right now in my life. Gone are the spring and summer days of youth. These days I can party hardy as long as they don’t go past my bedtime at around 9:30 p.m.
My life goals and priorities have also changed. When I was 30, my philosophy was bigger, better, faster and newer.
I can’t remember how many new cars I bought through the years, and at times, I dreamed of getting a bigger house.
I’m not sure why because we didn’t have kids, and more house would have meant more time spent cleaning and maintaining, and paying for something we really didn’t need.
I worked hard to earn money for a rainy day. In my 40s, it was hard for me to imagine a time when I didn’t have to “clock in.”
The autumn of my life seemed as far away as the Milky Way, but then like autumn, the days began to get shorter.
I woke up one morning and my hair was gone, my waist line had expanded, and my knees squeaked when I stood too fast.
And in looking back, all those things that seemed so important back then seem almost frivolous now.
As the old song goes, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
It’s my intention to enjoy this autumn.
Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Happens is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.