It’s a bleak and rainy Saturday in Chicago, but Hili, far off in Poland, will bring us some sunshine. First, though, it’s October 1, 2016, and I present the annual Ode to October: an excerpt from Thomas Wolfe’s Of Time and The River (1935):
Now October has come again which in our land is different from October in the other lands. The ripe, the golden month has come again, and in Virginia the chinkapins are falling. Frost sharps the middle music of the seasons, and all things living on the earth turn home again. The country is so big that you cannot say that the country has the same October. In Maine, the frost comes sharp and quick as driven nails, just for a week or so the woods, all of the bright and bitter leaves, flare up; the maples turn a blazing bitter red, and other leaves turn yellow like a living light, falling upon you as you walk the woods, falling about you like small pieces of the sun so that you cannot say that sunlight shakes and flutters on the ground, and where the leaves. . .
October is the richest of the seasons: the fields are cut, the granaries are full, the bins are loaded to the brim with fatness, and from the cider-press the rich brown oozings of the York Imperials run. The bee bores to the belly of the yellowed grape, the fly gets old and fat and blue, he buzzes loud, crawls slow, creeps heavily to death on sill and ceiling, the sun goes down in blood and pollen across the bronzed and mown fields of old October.
The corn is shocked: it sticks out in hard yellow rows upon dried ears, fit now for great red barns in Pennsylvania, and the big stained teeth of crunching horses. The indolent hooves kick swiftly at the boards, the barn is sweet with hay and leather, wood and apples—this, and the clean dry crunching of the teeth is all: the sweat, the labor, and the plow is over. The late pears mellow on a sunny shelf, smoked hams hang to the warped barn rafters; the pantry shelves are loaded with 300 jars of fruit. Meanwhile the leaves are turning, turning up in Maine, the chestnut burrs plop thickly to the earth in gusts of wind, and in Virginia the chinkapins are falling.
October is National Apple Month, National Pork Month, and a bunch of other months. And today is National Pumpkin Spice Day as well as World Vegetarian Day (more on Pumpkin Spice later). On this day in 1891, snooty Stanford University opened for business in California, and, in 1908, the Ford Model T went on the market for $825. It came in any color you wanted, so long as that color was black. On October 1, 1939, Nazi forces, which had invaded Poland a month earlier, entered Warsaw. In 1971, Disney World opened in Orlando, and, on the exact same day, the first CAT scan of a human brain was performed. Those born on this day include Bonnie Parker (1910, shot 1934), Julie Andrews (1935 ♥), and Theresa May (1956). Those who died on this day include Louis Leakey (1972), E. B. White (1985), and Tom Clancy, 2013.
Three days ago, Hili left home and didn’t return for 48 hours. She’d never been gone that long before, and Malgorzata and Andrzej were distraught. They deliberately didn’t tell me because they knew I’d go wild with worry, which was kind of them. Fortunately, Hili turned up at home after two days, which prompted both great relief and today’s dialogue:
Cyrus: Where have you been for two days?Hili: I went to a friend for a gossip.
Cyrus: Gdzieś ty była przez dwa dni?
Hili: Poszłam do koleżanki na plotki.
Leon: Plum jam? What plum jam?