October will forever be a month in which I grit my teeth to get through the memories of loss, but this one had some real dumpster fire days. Stress monsters appeared from multiple directions resulting in the appearance of physical hives for a few weeks that I’m still trying to relieve. Years ago, a dermatologist told me that skin often exhibits the first signs of stress, be it physical or emotional, and mine is loudly rebelling.
The worst: my husband and I are completely burnt out by coaching speech. It happens, we’ve run the team more than ten years and the last two were quite successful, but our mental fatigue has coincided with the beginning of a long season. Emotions run high for the competitors but mine feel especially lethargic and listless concerning the outcome and day-to-day effort. I’m attempting to turn this around, as it will only make the work harder as the stakes increase for practices and tournaments. However, it is an intense time-consuming activity which I’m sadly not looking forward to for the next three months.
Cars breaking down, family obligations and disputes, and other stressors reared up too. I felt stuck and didn’t accomplish much of my October goal list. Even the trees, usually so brilliant in the Midwest, seem muted this fall. It’s as if a paintbrush dipped in watered-down brown was washed over the landscape. I’m hoping our extra rainy weather clears soon so that crisp fall air can be enjoyed before winter rolls in.October wasn’t all stress and gloom, I appreciated a few good things even more for the boost they provided from the heaviness.
The best: our twelve-year old Boston Terrier, Johnny Funtime, survived his third surgery and is recovering well. We were extra concerned this time for the higher risk due to his age and raised liver values. The vet was able to remove his growing tumor and he came out seeming as spritely as before. Huge relief for us, who put off the surgery as long as possible for fear he wouldn’t recover.
Taking my annual girlfriends’ trip to visit another friend in Columbus; partaking in lots of silly photo sessions, excellent antiquing, beautiful park visits and a little day drinking. Finishing the first book in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (I’m a late fantasy bloomer). Be forewarned, LOTR may be my newest obsession as I loved, lived and breathed it.
I will speak positive whispers into November in the hopes of bringing a positive end to the year. This piece I just read on autumn by Thoreau, titled Autumnal Tints, available from walden.org is a testament to the season that I hope to carry with me. It illuminates the richness found in nature:
“October is the month for painted leaves. Their rich
glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves
and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they
fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset
sky; November the later twilight.”