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December 16th, 2017

The First of October

 

I’m sitting here, in my recliner, in my home, in near disbelief, as the sun sets outside my window, on this first day of October, 2014. Truly, as I opened up this old laptop the first thing this morning, I found the startling news nearly impossible to believe, that it was already the first day of this new, cooler, if prettier month. I’m sure I knew October was coming; it just shouldn’t have come so soon. Don’t you agree? Now, as I sit here again, after a long day of teaching high school, and terrifying seventh graders, (I wasn’t terrifying them. They are just terrifying seventh graders.), and the day which started so startlingly, is nearly over. Still, this very moment, I wonder where the day has gone. I also wonder where the past week has gone. I presume it is hiding somewhere, nestled right inside the past year, and that, inside a quickly-receding decade.

It is strange to me that, as I keep aging, the passing moments, hours, days, weeks, years, and so on, seem to be accelerating in their race to leave me far behind. Perhaps that is only because each year is a smaller portion of the total time we have lived. I don’t know. I do know that it is as likely due to the fact that a year is really not that long a time in the first place, and a month is only a twelfth of that, and a week but a quarter of that. No wonder a day, like today, can slip by so quickly. Even now, as you read these words, another full week has already passed, and I am somewhere, wondering more, how that could have happened, so soon.

If you are anything like me, and you are SO lucky if you are, (I keep telling myself that) you are also wondering where the time has gone. I know this is an old subject that keeps getting older. Come to think of it, doesn’t everything keep getting older? But, really, the summer that just began, is done. As I write these words, it is only 7 p.m., and the sun is down… and the air is cool out there beyond my window pane, and I can no longer feel comfortable skinny dipping in the pool. Okay, so I don’t do that… mainly because I have no pool. A plastic kiddie pool just won’t do for such things, especially here in the city.

I guess I just have to face the fact that it really is October. October. Hum. You know… that’s the month of dry leaves, pumpkins, and frost. I do remember those things, and normally like those memories. Halloween has always been one of my favorite days of the year. It probably shouldn’t be, but we humans seem to just like what we like, even if we don’t always like the fact that we like it. I loved carving jack-o-lanterns with my kids, so long ago, or maybe not so long ago. Okay, so that’s a lie. I hated carving those slimy-gutted things, but did love taking pictures of my wife and kids doing it. Lighting them the few evenings before Halloween was always fun. My favorite Halloween quote is this: “There’s nothing like the smell of a sooty-sweet, candle-lit carved pumpkin, on a dark and windy Halloween night.” The fact that I am quoting myself there should have no bearing on whether or not you like the quote.

It is so strange. I no longer hear a neighbor’s lawnmower, or smell his or my own freshly-cut grass. But the sweet aroma and crackling crunch of the newly fallen leaves makes up for those things, in some ways. Another of my favorite quotes comes from my very favorite poem, Desiderata. It says: “Take kindly the council of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.” I am trying my best to follow that ancient advice. For now, maybe it’s enough to surrender the things of summer. Fall is here, and it is beautiful! So, take heart, and hang on. Before you know it, you will probably be reading an article stating how startled I am that winter has already come. If you’re not a winter fan, take heart, and hang on, again. If God doesn’t care, I intend to be here, sooner than I will be able to comprehend, to see the first buds of another spring popping out on my old maple trees. I hope you will be here, too.

 

George’s World,” a new 740-page collection of George’s columns from The World, is available at xlibris.com, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and your favorite bookstore. “The Smoke And Mirrors Effect,” George’s first novel, can be seen at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Happy Reading!

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