Columbus, Ohio USA
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October makes its brisk, colorful entrance
By Tom Thomson
October 2010 Issue

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Photo Darren Carlson

October comes swaggering through Ohio country like a happy vagabond, his knapsack full of apples and nuts, his eyes reflecting blue skies by day, twinkling stars at night.

His morning breath accounts for frost on high ground, his voice is the murmur of cool night breezes. He sings a ballad centuries old; the lyrics speak of the cycles of life, the joys of the summer past, the rigors of the winter to come.

As his hands sweep through the treetops, the fire of the retreating sun seems revealed in one last farewell. Burning coals smolder in the towering oaks, candle flames of incandescent yellow finger through the beech trees, maples are enveloped in a raging red conflagration.

He sweetens the air with the incense of new mown hay, the muskiness of matted tangles of last summer’s flowers; he decorates early-morning spider webs with tiaras of sparkling diamonds.

Mighty Orion climbs the night sky with Sirus, his eager hunting dog. Once again the clamor of geese reaches my ears and I scan the heavens to share their exuberant flight. The small golden birds of summer go flying south.

On the ground, asters of a dozen colors are stitched along each fencerow, embroidered by the side of every country road.

Like many a roustabout, October is a jack-of-all trades. I follow him about, admiring his handiwork, acclaiming the wizardry of his achievements.

I discover too that he is a character of many moods. His sunny disposition can change to brawny determination in finishing a task once begun. Sometimes he becomes wistful, as if he were brooding over some dark allegation unknown to me.

In many ways he reminds me of those tanned sinewy men who work on the midways across America. They paint the carousels and Ferris wheels with joyous colors of red, yellow, blue – then, with practiced eyes, apply glittering gold trim. They tend the machinery, lubricate the clattering steel parts, operate the rides. After the show is over, they shrug, knock everything down, become cleanup men.

It is much the same with October – and we are the children who scream and laugh on the rides. With heady vertigo, we spin to the turn of the roustabout’s whirling
geometry. In our hearts we know the show will soon be over. Then there will be a new stillness where a short time ago there was gaiety.

The leaves continue to drift down through the month. The colors outlined so vividly against the sky become a mosaic at our feet.

Like old friends, we blow a kiss to the sad and happy vagabond, knowing full well that every kiss is a goodbye kiss.

© 2010 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

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