Autumn. The most meaningful and favorite season of my life.
It’s the fresh start that comes in with the chilly air, as if to awaken, re-energize and refresh. Everything changes: the colors, the temperature, the ground, the clothing, the sky, the mood. It’s like that wonderful chorus in one of those incredible songs that will always compel you to tap along, and you’ll never tire of. Here it comes again.
The swirling sky fades as it stretches clouds into soft streaks above. The tinged gold, rust and deep red leaves line these New England streets that I grew up on. Pumpkins and Halloween decorations abound, football spirit, apples, squash, full moons, beers and wines of the season, holding onto the light of day more tightly, being thankful as the year crouches towards its’ final days.
October. My most beloved month.
It’s the end of the first week of October and I am determined to keep this month on a pedestal, unmarred. I am trying my damnest to stay self-aware and not let anger or bitterness creep in to the spaces throughout my body in the thrusts of reinvention.
October is the month that I was proposed to – both times. The first time, I walked into my apartment that had been recreated as a Parisian cafe, including the savory smells of petite baked delicious things and perfectly Parisian music. He kneeled trying to read through tears – a card he had written that ended with a proposal and a ribbon to pull a ring from a charming ceramic white and blue box. He had dreamt of taking me to Paris, but we didn’t have the finances, so, as he said, he brought Paris to me. That sweet evening led to an almost eight year marriage, and a total of 12 years together. There was always deep love and respect between us. Of all my regrets, the top of the list is that I wished I had not jumped so quickly into a new relationship after our divorce. It killed him to see that. How could I have been so careless with his heart at such a tenuous time? I have apologized, but it still lives in my body.
Many thousands of friends of my ex-fiance of the past four years were made aware that he proposed three days shy of our second anniversary, in October. Funny enough, there was also a somewhat French theme to his proposal at one of the mansions in Newport, Rhode Island. He eloquently spoke of “our story,” and also teary-eyed, he promised all his days loving me. Our wedding weekend has been on the books for about 20 months. I am anxious for it to pass in a little over a week from now.
There was a massive difference in being a woman of 31, engaged for the first time with no idea of what deep pain felt like, thinking I would manage marriage just fine…and a divorced woman of 42 who had delved into unwavering soul-searching after a series of unexpected sorrowful turns, coming out more confident and familiar with who I was than ever before — and saying yes to a man and his children. There is a crater-sized valley in the amount of maturity and confidence between those two times in my life. I could utter the cliche “if I knew then, what I know now” a zillion times. I probably have.
The memories from October and the fall stick with me for years and years. I can remember scenes from early childhood like jumping in the piles of leaves my parents raked, the song I sung at 13 walking home from school while I kicked through shin-deep rows of fallen leaves, a moment when a crush sat near me on the bleachers during a big high school football game, picking out matching leggings and boots with my best friends, the crazy Santa Ana warm, dusty winds in Southern California, and the month with Ranchi, my first dog.
What will this month bring? I am unafraid of change now. Not much frightens me at all really. Change is already here. So let it come.