October in Wisconsin

There are three types of days in October in Wisconsin.

The first is the classic fall day, when the sun and the leaves crown existence in a wreath of crisp, dramatic goodness that makes you say, “Glory, glory, glory, glory, glory, glory, glory.”

The second is the frigid day, a taste of winter that reminds you how fleeting this season is, and that makes you make your weekend plans a little faster so you don’t miss your chance to enjoy the first type of day. On these days we think of the next stage—heavy, silent, enduring—and pull our scarves a little tighter to retreat inside ourselves. Hot chocolate, too.

And then there are days like today—a rainy day. A day for brooding! A day for staring out the window and pondering infinite mysteries! The rain drips from lampposts and is lit just right so that it strangely and magically looks like fire dripping. That’s something you can ponder for hours really. These are days we can put on boots and wander down the riverside in the grey light and be really serious about things.

These days remind me of school the most. Days of living light, days of bundled cold, days of brooding and lamplight. They say, “Settle down now children to learn.”

“Get out your books, your Halloween masks, it’s time to read the story of Ichabod Crane. It’s time for rainy bus rides in the dark hours of morning. It’s time for the world to start all over again and for you to learn how to be what you will become.”

They say spring is the resurrection and fall is a descent. But Alex and I say the new year should start in the fall. It’s the time when the treasure chest of childhood flares brightest, when we settle in, look at each other, and shed our leaves again.

Kevin McGillivray is a teacher and web developer from Wisconsin. He writes about creativity, mindfulness, code, and tea. He tweets and tumbles.

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