A few years ago when I was working with the San Benito News, I did a weekly column about my various walking travels. One of them is a nifty article about the Fall season, so I thought to bring it out from the News to the blog. Something for the month of October. 😀
Change is here. That’s noticeable in my daily commutes by foot. Although the current temperatures are still hot during the daytime, it is not as hot as it has been during the summer. Cool breezes are starting to blow, and the climes becoming softly chilly. We are experiencing fall, as odd as it sounds.
This sort of thing is indeed a welcome change from the oppressive heat we have had all this summer. The sun shines, but it has lost its bite. Our collective sighs fill the streets as we step out, a stiff northern breeze tickling our fancies and make us think of wooly items and the holiday seasons – to me, that is. It might be different for you, fellow walkers, but still.
To borrow a term from one of my favorite authors, Ray Bradbury, we are experiencing October Country. Here, summer takes one last gasp while the cold moves into the scene, or at least tries to. I remember one October in which it was still in the mid-90s for most of the month until it got stifled by a northern front during its last week.
Speaking of which, this month is also quite perilous for us walkers, especially for those wearing shorts. I have had many episodes in both school and after in which I was walking around and wearing shorts during the morning, seeing a front move in mid-day, and having me shiver all the time I was walking home during the afternoon. One episode in particular was when I was a senior at San Benito High School. I had to walk from the high school athletic building, across the parking lot, and into the side cafeteria doors in 50-degree cold wearing shorts and sandals. No fun at all.
Another thing that October marks is the start of the Halloween season; although, I am starting to see Christmas decor already popping up around the city and the various shopping centers. It is a terrible shame for this to happen, because the month speaks to us of crisp colored leaves and of spiced cider, not of pine trees and presents. But that will be a different column in a different time. Right now is reserved for October.
At the moment, not many houses are decorated with fall items in general, something I bemoaned about a bit last week. Still, the occasional house and business are having the discreet holiday accents: a few pumpkins on the porch, a wreath of fall leaves hanging at the door. I am sure that as the month goes by, I will be walking past more and more elaboration, to which I will be most grateful to see.
Fall, this month in particular, also speaks of preparation. I have walked upon the high school band practicing outside for both the Pigskin Jubilee and SBHS Homecoming festivities. When this sort of thing happens, I usually join the other spectators – comprised of students and band parents – and join in the cheering-on as the band perfect their music and their movements. I have spent many a fall afternoon doing this, then walking back home when they finish in high spirits.
Lastly, October hosts the wonderful monarch butterfly migration, something that San Benito welcomes with open arms. Throughout the years, I have come across many a rabble (their collective noun), flying across and around the streets, tickling the fancies of us fellow walkers. Especially the kids, which chase after them and try to catch them. But the secret of catching a butterfly, as any seasoned walker should know, is not running, but standing still and letting them land on you.
So it is with this month.
I put forth the proposition to enjoy October, this mid-season of fall, to the best of our abilities. To those willing to, set your scariest monsters and decor on your yards and porches. Some more fall wreaths on the doors and windows. Maybe a couple signs of well-wishes for the high school band in support of their upcoming Pigskin competition. Hang up a few butterfly feeders. In other words, let this month be one of the best that you have had. And try not to wear shorts.