Wednesday, October 01, 2008

October's transitions

It's October 1 -- the beginning of the all-too-rapid slide down to the new year. And it appears that our summer weather may be over, with a forecast of highs on Friday and Saturday only in the 60s. Looks like we may well go from swamp cooler to wood stove in the same week once more.

And I'm so glad. I am so tired of hot weather, of dry, dusty roads and ground and air, of fire threats with every lightning strike. I'm tired of hot weather food and clothing. It's been a very long summer this year.

Change is all around us today, and we're truly at a crossroads with the economy. Our lives, what we buy, what we eat, how we work depends on what happens with the economy in the next few days. While we must take personal responsibility for our own choices and deal with those consequences, much of this mess is fallout from the decisions of big business. And yes, what happens to these big companies impacts our ability to purchase ANYTHING. Our economy revolves around credit.

October is one of my favorite months. The weather is cooler, days are often spectacularly bright blue, local festivals are nearly every weekend, gardens yield up the last veggies, trees turn brilliant colors.

My little brother was born this month and celebrates a birthday next week. Not that big 6-o, but he's not far away either. *snicker*

Mind you, when he was born, I wasn't particularly thrilled about it. I was not quite three -- two years and 11 months older than him, he'd tell people throughout our school days -- and rather enjoyed being the only child. I remember the day we brought him and my mother home from the hospital. I think my dad's mother had come to help out, because I remember being in the back seat of our car with her when we picked up my mother from the hospital, and peering over her shoulder to see this squawky red thing that looked not at ALL like my cute babydolls.

I'm told, although I don't remember it, that I used to pop him and then go helpfully tell my mother that "Jimmy has a bloody nose!" He has blamed me all his life for his propensity toward bloody noses, although *I* think it has much more to do with the blood vessels in his nose being very close to the skin's surface. (I never get bloody noses.)

But he was my playmate. We'd play house. We'd play dolls. We'd play trucks and cars sometimes, and conduct pretend orchestras with chopstick batons while we listened to LPs that our parents had, and our own "Lemmerlemmer Street" and others. We knew all the words to "Oklahoma." We could recite and sing the whole monologue from "It's in the Book." And sang gibberish German with some boys' choir recording -- can't remember the name. We knew the all the Smothers Brothers routines from their recordings too.

And we fought. I remember chasing him around and around the house, angry about something or other, and trying to hit him but only rarely succeeding. I took a slug at the neighborhood bully when he was in first grade and I was in fourth, and the bully was trying to beat up on MY BROTHER. *I* could beat up on him, but nobody else was gonna, by god. I got a chipped front tooth for my efforts, and we moved out of that neighborhood shortly thereafter, but I'd protected my little brother. By the time I was in high school he was pretty much of a pest.

And we've been friends for years now. When our dad died, we were in a mind-meld about what needed to be done for our mother. When our mother was failing and died -- three years ago at the end of this month -- we spent time together, just us, for the first time in many years, and were reminded just how much we treasure each other. We did what we needed to do, and we leaned on each other for strength to do it.

October is a transition month: you'll remember the Greek story of Persephone, where she prepares to return to the underworld for four months. When she and her mother Demeter are reunited, the earth flourishes with growth, but when she returns to Hades, it becomes barren. It's the myth explaining the changing of the seasons. We have this month yet of life, and then the barren time comes.

Only partly, of course, in northern California, where the hills and fields green up with the rains. But hey, it's a good story.

It's a transition month for the elections too, where all the candidates make their platforms clear (we hope), and campaigns and publicity heat up, and the fireworks and mudslinging start (yuk). By the end of the month we'll all be sick of hearing it and ready to vote.

Be sure to watch Palin and Biden go at it tomorrow night, by the way. It should be on all the networks as well as CNN, and on radio. Doesn't matter who you're for -- just be informed.

Anyway, happy almost fall. I know the calendar shows that fall began more than a week ago, but for me, this is its beginning. And days are getting so short -- barely 12 hours of light these days, with the sun setting by 7 p.m. Remember that daylight savings time doesn't change (fall back) until Nov. 2.

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