October and June


[ Bright blue weather ]

October 7 – When I was back in grade school so many years ago, I didn’t like the poem about October’s bright blue weather, because of the beginning lines:

O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather;

Since our teacher decided that every pupil must memorize that poem, I had really good contact with the words. But behind my learning, one thought came up; how could June have to take a back seat to October?!


[ Leaves turning ]

As if that weren’t enough, the last stanza was just about like the first, so I had a hard time at the beginning and at the end. I really took it to heart when as I checked over the student birthday list on the special place on the wall. I found that I was the only one who could claim the wonderful month of June for my birthday! So about 80 years ago, I came up with the idea of sticking up for myself as I proudly reminded all the rest of the class that my birthday came on the first day of summer, the best season of the year.

Then when October arrived, the leaves would fall and the rest of the month would be leading us into winter with all of its cold and snow. Unfortunately, I had to be honest about the snow, though, because I enjoyed sliding down our hill on a sled and would stay outside all day if Mom let me.

Talking about freezing! My fingers and toes, and my nose, just about gave up, wondering if they would ever be warm and comfortable again. As soon as Mom gave me no choice between staying outdoors or going inside, it didn’t take me very long to toss off my heavy jacket, warm woolen hat, and mittens that really didn’t even try to keep my fingers warm, and stand in front of the big heater in the living room or even sit on a little chair behind that stove until I was partially thawed out! Mom always brought me and my brothers a cup of good hot cocoa while we warmed up).


[ Home-made grape juice ]

When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

As for grapes, we pulled out all of our vines last year because in their transfer from Pennsylvania to Missouri, they just didn’t bear very well. Instead of the 150 quarts of juice I always did up back East, I was lucky to do up a dozen!


[ Goldenrod ]

And golden rod! How could we possibly enjoy the autumn season without those beautiful golden flowers all along the paths in the pasture area? Several different kinds make our walks more interesting as we check our wild flower books to see which variety we have found.

Yes, this is the time of year when all sorts of living things try to remember that by the end of the month, they won’t have an easy way to continue enjoying summer weather and will have to plan for the cold to come.

When Gentians roll their fringes tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;


[ Chestnuts that WE got ]

I thought of that verse this morning, when Dale was out in the chestnut tree area with his trusty scooper on the end of a long pole pulling down chestnuts that had popped open, but as yet, had not fallen to the ground. As usual, under the tree were a number of opened burrs with nothing inside. Obviously, squirrels had raided the tree before we had a chance to save the harvest for that day.

In other years we have just taken our chances at finding these tasty nuts to take back to the kitchen storage area. But we have become a little smarter now, and we are able to harvest more than the squirrels do. We know, however, that not only do those scamps eat what they want, but all over the land in that area are holes in which chestnuts have been deposited ready for winter use.


[ Golded Orb spider ]

We find bumblebees all over the place, most of them getting a good meal from the squashes growing in the garden.

Huge gold and black spiders seem to be just about everywhere along our paths through the woods, or hitched up to the fences I found one just this morning, hanging from its lines on the window of the back door in the kitchen. The more bugs the spider catches, the fewer left to bother us on our walks!

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;


[ Comrades seek sweet country haunts ]

There’s a very special trail that we like to visit and revisit because of the stone walls along the way. Not on our property, but about five miles from us. Those walls were not made by people recently, but are the ones that have been there for many, many years. It seems as if we can go back in history to the old days when walls like that divided one farm from another.

When some folks told us that they have found fossil rocks as they have walked along the way, we decided to hunt for those special finds. Guess what? We found some interesting ones, too.

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October’s bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together;
Ye cannot rival for one hour,
October’s bright blue weather.

You know, as I have read this poem over several times just now, I have found that some of my very favorite things are mentioned by Helen Hunt Jackson, the poet who penned these words. I’ve come to the conclusion that I didn’t really have to stick up for my special month of June, since it is a wonderfully beautiful month and can hold its own. And, of course, October can do the same. So, maybe I’ll have TWO favorite months, if not more, just enjoying the blessings that each one brings to me, one after the other. – CHRIS

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