Unfortunately, it is still summer in the Bay Area, with temperatures today topping out around 90 degrees. This is not unusual for October, and it’s always lovely to see the sun, but I always find myself imagining that I live somewhere where there is a vivid dividing line between the seasons, somewhere with foliage. My mind is on rusty leaves, pumpkins, and sweater weather, but the heat is wilting the garden tomatoes and I’m still wearing shorts.
My now annual ritual of writing down my favorite descriptions of autumn serve to put me in the mindset of autumn — stocking up on firewood, the scent of baking wafting through the kitchen, and rich-hued colors of trees whose leaves actually change and fall. Ah, well. When I can go to the beach in February, I’ll be glad I live here.
And now, for this year’s favorite description of Autumn:
OCTOBER is the treasurer of the year,
And all the months pay bounty to her store:
The fields and orchards still their tribute bear,
And fill her brimming coffers more and more.
But she, with youthful lavishness,
Spends all her wealth in gaudy dress,
And decks herself in garments bold
Of scarlet, purple, red, and gold.
She heedeth not how swift the hours fly,
But smiles and sings her happy life along;
She only sees above a shining sky;
She only hears the breezes’ voice in song.
Her garments trail the woodland through,
And gather pearls of early dew
That sparkle till the roguish Sun
Creeps up and steals them every one.
But what cares she that jewels should be lost,
When all of Nature’s bounteous wealth is hers?
Though princely fortunes may have been their cost,
Not one regret her calm demeanor stirs.
Whole-hearted, happy, careless, free,
She lives her life out joyously,
Nor cares when Frost stalks o’er her way
And turns her auburn locks to gray.
Paul Laurence Dunbar