October

Here is a beautiful and calendar-appropriate song for your listening pleasure, October by U2:

When I was younger, I would complain about autumn, with its gray skies and dreary weather.  My mother would correct me and tell me to notice “October’s bright blue weather.”  Over the years, I have thought of this phrase often and noticed that there are many beautiful days in October, days when the sky is a glorious bright blue.

I never thought about where my Mom came up with the phrase.  Like all of her sayings, it has just always been part of my consciousness.  Finally, today, when I looked at the wonderful sky, I thought “October’s bright blue weater” and suddenly wondered about the origin of the phrase.  I googled it and found the poem by Helen Hunt Jackson.  Reading the poem, I felt tingles all through my body.  As I was reading the words, I heard them in my mother’s voice.  I realized that I do know the origin of the phrase.  My mother had recited this poem to me.  It was familiar and comforting.

October’s Bright Blue Weather*

O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather;

When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When Gentians roll their fringes tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October’s bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October’s bright blue weather.

This poem is so like my mother.  She was a country girl who loved nature and poetry.  She was brilliant and humble.  I am so happy to have read this poem today and been reminded of my mom and all the wonderful things she taught me.  I had forgotten the poem, but I always remember the line “October’s bright blue weather.”  This is the way my mother taught.  She left little nuggets of wisdom that stay with me and, when I dig deeper, offer a huge deposit of wealth for me to draw on and learn from. October is a month that has depth like that.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t appreciate it when I was younger.  I needed to grow up, wise up, learn to dig into it, learn to love it.  October’s bright blue weather – not superficial and light, but golden, bright, deep, lovely.  Like my memories of my Mom.

*This poem can be found in: 

  • Jackson, Helen. Poems. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1893.
  • Stevenson, Burton Egbert, ed. The Home Book of Verse for Young Folks.        New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1915.
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    4 thoughts on “October

      • I am discovering that living a life that dares to go below the surface is more risky but brings more joy. I pray that I always have the courage and the strength to keep digging. Or keep peeling off the layers of the onion, as a friend used to say.

    1. Excellent blog Belinda. We are having some bright blue weather today! Fall keeps moving up the ladder on my favorite season list! Thanks for the nice remembrances of our wonderful mom. Happy October!

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