I will admit this to be true – I love October, and more specifically, I love Halloween. Not so much the holiday itself (if you consider Halloween an actual holiday. Seems to me that term should be reserved for days off and such. But anyway…) – but the season, the colors, the weather (Northeast US, at least). As I sit and write this today, staring out of my office window, the leaves are changing, the wind is blowing and the thermometer is barely reaching 50 degrees. There’s an on-and-off bit of drizzle that falls from the sky. Any other time of year, I might consider this a dreary day. But today, in October – it’s comforting, and welcome.
Last week, we took our annual pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch. This journey, which takes place at a local farm that also serves up pick-your-own cherry, strawberry, peach, and apple “adventures” throughout the year, involves trekking out to the real country, hopping in a real tractor-pulled cart and being escorted out to a real-live pumpkin patch. We pull on our boots (Bean’s Waxed Hunting Boot for me), don our fleece jackets (ok, it’s a softshell) and make a day of it.
There’s always some fun stuff to see and do while on the adventure – the wagon ride, of course. The giant bale-of-hay structure that kids climb on and then slide off of. The occasional pumpkin patch sculpture (see above). Oh, and of course – the pumpkin part. Now, I know that to some degree, this is a manufactured affair. While there are plenty of pumpkins and it’s clear that pumpkin actually grew in this field we’re standing in – most are not attached to vines still. Does that matter? I guess it’s akin to buying a Christmas tree off of a lot vs cutting your own – except we’re really out in that field, getting muddy, and feeling like we’re really doing it.
But what is it about autumn that speaks to me and so many others? It’s a season built around things dying or going dormant. It’s about preparing for the forthcoming winter. It signals the beginning of short days, cold nights and many hours indoors. But, for many, it also signifies the beginning of a holiday season (with actual time off from work), often filled with family, friends and entertaining. The splashes of color from the changing leaves is comforting(you owe it to yourself to visit New Hampshire just once during peak season) – you know that in a week or two, those same leaves will be brown and falling to the ground, soon to be nothing more than a meal for worms. But, they are going out in a (color) blaze of glory – enjoying their swan song before winter’s might falls on us. And seeing them subconsciously triggers a memory that some great eating is on the way – butternut squash dishes, pumpkin pie, turkey, cranberries…yes, please!
Does autumn and October hold a special meaning for you? Let us know – we’d love to hear about it.