Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October and the last of the light


I'm not sure if April is the cruelest month. It seems to be October.

October is the cruelest month because it gives us a glimpse of what we have lost, because it gives us flashes of lost sunlight under yellow trees that weep leaves but plunges us into darkness before we can gain our paradise lost.

And the glimmers of summer warmth only remind us that we wasted the summer in some indefinable way and it's gone now for another year, swallowed up in mushrooms, devoured in brown leaves and echoing down this haunted tunnel to Halloween.

"I can't believe it's October," says my boss.

And it serves to remind me that another year has slipped by at the same place. But if it hadn't slipped by at the same place it would have slipped by at another place and who am I to measure my happiness in months and years that fall like weights on the scales?

"Where were you?" said the lawyer, and I made my excuses while skirting the fact I had sought solitude and lunch alone so as I could watch the weak sunlight play on the grass of the Town Center, although I still despaired because it was too new and the fountains wide open and without imagination.

In an obscure way I longed for Versailles and the fountain I photographed so many years ago in which gilded horses ride up and surfed the water spouts; I figured I didn't long for Versailles as much as Louis XVI longed for the place. In his rat infested prison as the crowds bayed for his blood he must have thought of the gardens that go on for ever and the Hall of  Mirrors. Like Joni Mitchell he had to get back to the garden but the guillotine waits for no man or monarch.

Louis must have thought the summer would go on for ever but October comes to us all. And while Keats boasted of his "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun," there's a transiance to his celebration. Keats was born on October 31 1795 and he died on February 23, 1821. He was only 25 years old but left a more powerful legacy than most of us could muster in 125 years.

Lives like his make me want to go out and do something and be something. But I have to load this dishwasher first and make this engagement and work on this project. And before I know it October will have slipped out of my grasp taking the last of the light with it.

13 comments:

  1. Have I told you lately how much I enjoy your writing?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why is the Autumn breeze the harbinger of the harsh winds of depression ....I have learnt the art of comparing myself with the more unfortunate and be happy I have a good life. At least my child, if it were alive wouldn't be starving like the African kids across the same planet where someone else is buying old stuff of a long dead heroine for thousands of dollars. Sorry to depress you further. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Rather call it Blogtober or Rocktober then...you gotta look at it through different eyes...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have mixed feelings about the fall. On the one hand, daylight recedes and that does have a mental and physical impact. On the other hand, down here in the desert, October is when the temperatures finally fall, the air becomes nearly perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I couldn't have said this better myself. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Such a beautifully written and touching post, I really loved this David. I have history with Keats, I had to go all the way to Rome and see the place where he died opposite the Spanish Steps to find out that he had been an assistant chemist in Edmonton North London where I lived at the time. There is still a 'Keats Chemists' there to this day.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've never thought of October as a cruel month. It is, in fact, my favorite month of the year. Fall is my favorite season. I love the way the quickened, cool and colorful days gently glide us into winter. Yet it is still a surprise when you find yourself on the other side of the season. Where does the time go?!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Summer just flew by here in less than a blink. I understand completely what you mean in your last paragraph. There are so many things that I want to do, but there are so many everyday things that keep me from them, and the time just is gone before I know it. Well written post, as always, David.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Perfect post. Somehow it made me cry!

    And I love October.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is a great phrase: "before we can gain our paradise lost." There's such a nice flow to this piece, along with beautiful imagery. It's VERY well written, David. Makes me feel nostalgic.
    xoRobyn

    ReplyDelete
  11. aw thanks Lidia - I believe you may have done. For sure Rek - a happy thought. I know, I should Daft Scots lass.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I know Tim - it must be a great time in the desert; aw thx jennifer, thx Abbi - I saw the place where he died at the Spanish Steps, albeit by accident, a tad more exotic than Edmonton. Well certainly the colors are great Jayne. Cheers Daisy,it certainly went quickly

    ReplyDelete
  13. sorry about that Deborah, thx Robyn, you are too kind.

    ReplyDelete