The Sassy Sandpiper: Still My Favorite Month
The Sassy Sandpiper rhapsodizes about the subtleties of a Florida October.
By M.R. Wilson, TB Reporter
October is here, near and dear to my heart.
Imagine my ire toward a meme posted on Facebook of red and gold foliage captioned: “I’m so grateful we have October here!”
Newsflash: We have October in Florida, too. Say, it’s October all over the globe! Folks in the Southern Hemisphere delight in the first furls of spring. They are so much more polite, but if they wanted to, their I’m-so-grateful-we-have-October-here photo would be new sprout green and baby dandelion yellow …
… Which are also found in Florida’s October, but don’t let me belabor the point.
October likely enthralled me very early in life. The air cooled and dried—even if just a bit—and none of the shrubs or trees in my yard withered and died. My favorite was a lychee tree that produced a bounty of fruit with prickly reddish skin, translucent white flesh, and huge, oval brown seeds.
Elementary school was fun in October. My fifth grade teacher, Odette Millar, was born on Oct. 5. To this day I remember and whisper, “Happy Birthday, Mrs. Millar—wherever you are!” Halloween carnivals at Westgate Elementary enchanted me. I loved the smell of fresh plywood hastily fashioned into booths festooned with orange and black crepe paper. All manner of ghostly creatures might leer at passersby. Caramel corn and caramel apples, candy of every description, games and prizes, and a parade of costumed children and adults thrilled my young soul. Traipsing through our quiet neighborhood for trick-or-treating was safe, simple fun.
October doesn’t carry a lot of emotional baggage. My heart feels lighter this time of year. It’s a month of gratitude for personal harvests and a drawing inward of energies. “Thought-life seems to strengthen.” (Cosmo Doogood’s Urban Almanac)
I like digging out dark-hued clothing that makes me feel more earth-centered, and concocting chili and soups and stews. It is time for cold weather food, even as in Florida, “cold” is understood to be any temperature under 70 degrees.
We do have October here and it’s distinct and delightful. Just pay attention to the subtleties in the air and sky (more cirrus clouds, more cornflower blue), to the orange-brown tint of the cypress, to the sharpening shadows and ever-morphing plays of light.
One night very soon, someone will light a fireplace for the first time this year. It almost always amuses me, as it’s still way too warm for me to consider indoor flames. But it smells wonderful, like something wild and ancient has run up behind you, huffing its hot breath in your ear.
If I could choose any month for it to be year round, it would be October.
Sassy Sandpiper | M.R. Wilson | October | Autumn | Tampa Bay Reporter
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