Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Halloween October

October and I are mated for life. Not just because I was born in October. But also because fate decreed that my first name, Hal, begin the last day of the month and my last name, Ober, end the month itself. Kind of like one of those old riddles: "My first is... My last is... What am I?" We are apple allies and pumpkin pals, October and me.

This October started with me being laid off from my job as a school publishing editor, a job that began on the day of the World Series earthquake, twenty years ago. I can practically reach back and touch that day, walking around in an itchy tweed jacket, shaking people's hands. Now I recognize the genius of October, tipping me back into a writer's life.

I think I know the exact day October became October: not the day the calendar turned, but on October 7th. Prior to that day, you couldn't really tell October from September. But on the 7th the weather went slightly haywire. Early rain tapering off, warm, forgiving sun coming out, then building clouds again and sudden intense rain squalls, then it-was-only-a-joke sunshine again. And wind! The first real leaf-shedding wind, those little turbillions of leaves whirling around in a forced dance on the sidewalks. Since then, October has been its unpredictable self, has gotten a wild glint in its eye, like a cat's eye in a pumpkin, peering slyly toward Halloween.

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