The gift of an eastern October

It's been a beautiful autumn in Montreal.

It's also been a particularly stressful and difficult season of family life.

The weather, the leaves, the blue sky days have been a bright spot, a balm, in the discomfort.

Autumn is always such a poignant time of year for me. Part of it is mono no aware but there's also the remembrance of past autumns. I am reflective during each calendar season, looking back, remembering; but the instinct to do so seems especially keen in fall.

Autumn became a real season for me when we left Alberta and moved to New Jersey and then Maine. Growing up on the prairies fall was a short, short window of yellowed leaves, a gathering chill, the start of school, harvest at the farm, grain dust in the air. It was over almost as soon as it started. By early October the trees were skeletons and winter was in the air.

When I moved to New England, autumn took on a new meaning, and I was smitten by this season. The apple picking, farm visits, lichen covered stone walls, pumpkin patches, and red maple leaves.

And in that profusion of autumn color, a season of breathtaking beauty, fall took on a spiritual significance for me as Nature's glory season. A time when my inner Celt and inner Franciscan joins in the adoration of all creation, the worship of the Creator and source of all beauty, goodness, and truth.

All of it, the apple picking and red maple leaves, the spiritual awakening to beauty and nature's glory, was something I experienced for the first time, as an adult, with my preschool and elementary-aged children.

Every fall since then takes me back to those years of autumn discovery and delight.

It was just like living in the best literature, Charlotte's Web and Anne of Green Gables; the glory of everything and the gratitude for living in a world where there are Octobers.

My spirit wants to simply acknowledge, every fall, how much I love this season, and how many memories are attached to pumpkins, apples, leaves, and even spider webs.

Fall is different now that the kids are older, and we live in a city.

I don't take the kids apple picking, instead Brienne and I shop at Jean Talon, where we "pick out" our favorite varieties from the myriads of vendors and stalls.

We don't go jumping in the leaf piles. We ride bikes down city streets, and to the park where we can wind through the trails, through the trees.

We don't read fall stories together, we read books for English literature class at co-op, listen to intellectually and spiritually stimulating podcasts on our various commutes, watch Netflix snuggled on the bed.

this hobbit hole and art sculpture is in Dorval,
the part of Montreal where we meet for homeschool co-op

Many mothers look back on the start of the school year and those first-day-of-school photos as the markers of time through their children's growing years. I look back on our Octobers, a month of autumn colors and autumn rituals. Activities and experiences that I participated in for the first time, the same time my children were introduced to them. We grew into autumn together.

No wonder the eastern autumn feels like such a gift each time it comes around, grounded as it is in love, good stories, and beauty.

A walk down memory lane:

« Did I really say that?
A review of a farm spiritual retreat »

You can subscribe to comments on this article using this form.

If you have already commented on this article, you do not need to do this, as you were automatically subscribed.