I love October—my favorite of all the months, and yet she is unpredictable, inconsistent, ornery.

Sometimes she arrives all at once—we wake up to trees of crimson and gold, the smell of burning wood and spiced drinks on the wind, tasty things stewing and baking. Overnight it’s October everywhere; we feel it in our bones. The dead come calling, and it’s Halloween for weeks. The nights are deliciously haunted, and we gather together for wine and whispers and witchy things that remind us of the magic of childhood autumns.

Sometimes October is slow to arrive, just hints of color here and there, the gradual bundling of layers—first a scarf, then a sweater, maybe mittens without fingers. Summer hangs on, and Halloween feels far away, and winter farther still. We look down at our bare feet crunching orange leaves in the grass, our legs in shorts, our hands in mittens. There’s a disconnect, a teasing, a hesitation—is October coming or isn’t she?  Sometimes we ignore her, lulled into a false sense of never-ending summer.  Sometimes we choose to look for October in unexpected places, we work a little harder, maybe find roads never before taken. 

Just over a week to go, and I’m still not sure about this year’s October. Perhaps our perception of October is as much influenced by what’s going on inside of us, as what is happening around us. Maybe that’s why she seems fickle? Maybe October reflects back to us who we are as we head into the cold darkness of winter?

Tell me about your October.

Photo by 8 Eyes Photography
Photo by 8 Eyes Photography

Published by Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu has been making magic with food and words for more than 20 years, incorporating folklore from her Ukrainian heritage with practices that honor the Earth. She’s a writer, content developer, instructor, and mother of three teenagers. Valya is the author of MOTHER CHRISTMAS, THE SILENCE OF TREES, and the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Along with Stephen H. Segal, she is the co-author of FORKING GOOD: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of The Good Place and GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family (Quirk Books), and co-founder of the Wyrd Words storytelling laboratory. Valya earned her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry and prose have been published in anthologies and magazines that include, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Kenyon Review, Culture, Gargoyle Magazine, Gone Lawn, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium. You can find her on Twitter @valya and on Mastodon.social @valya

3 thoughts on “October”

  1. TheGoonieTom says:

    Beautiful! I’m UK based so my October consists of lots of drizzle while the leaves hang on to their last moments of life. But we don’t have that wonderful scrunchy noise of walking through them because they’re all damp!

  2. Helana Neumann says:

    I love October, too. Fall is my favorite season. I love the crisp air, the quality of the light, the shortening days, the falling, crunching leaves, the crack of falling acorns. The children in the neighborhood can barely contain their excitement–Halloween is coming! Neighbors are decorating their houses, and the pile of wood in the park, for the Halloween bonfire, is growing. I love the air of anticipation that comes with October.

  3. roxy says:

    Fall is my favorite season too. Especially if it doesn’t rain every day. The colors of the fall are wonderful. I have just discovered you today through Good Books. Your name caught my eye. Lupescu has got to be a Romanian name. Am I right? Anyhow, I am planning to read your books. I love supporting Romanian artists.

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