I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.

“Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery

The sugar maples on our five acres are ablaze this week. Finally.

Our unseasonably warm September here in the Northland  made me wonder, more than once, if the show would go on this year.  For weeks, I’ve waited for the crimsons, coppers, and salmon pinks to bloom in the woods I love.  Finally, in mid-October we are, as we like to say around here, “at peak” and it is clear that Mother Nature has outdone herself, once again.  This morning, as I write from my perch in the porch, I can see leaves wafting down and feel that sad twinge with each one that does, knowing that in a week, the limbs will be bare.  But today, October is perfect in the way that so little is in life.

I took one of those goofy, online, “Color Tests” this morning on Facebook where you are presented five blocks of color with one that is almost imperceptibly different in shade and you have to identify which it is.  I got an A+ on the test. This means nothing except that my eyes are better at discerning hue than they are at reading this computer screen.  I have one pair of bifocals that were made solely for the purpose of actually seeing my computer without looking like an old bobblehead.  I have decided that I spend more time switching pairs of glasses per day than any human being on earth.  Too many years of too many essays to grade, I guess.  Or maybe just old eyes.

This week, I’ve been invited to speak to the Women of the Woods.  They are a group of sassy women who gather at the Sand Lake Hall monthly to do things like listen to people like me talk about writing.  At least, I think that is their mission.  I guess I’ll find out more about the WOWs tomorrow when I meet them.  Since they want to talk about writing, and they invited me (me, of all people) to talk about writing with them, I have decided that I already like them a lot.  This is probably because most of my conversations about writing, most of the time, focus more on how to magically turn a C paper into an A+ one.  Most of my students are young; as such, they do not yet fully grasp that writing is more about the seeing and feeling than the act of writing.  That in order to write about anything, one must first feel.

Now, I may be wrong, but I don’t think this will be a problem with the Women of the Woods.  I’m guessing that they, like me, feel the same joy on October mornings as they stand waiting for their coffee to brew and look out their kitchen windows into the woods they love, and think, there is no place better than this, right here. This moment. They feel the same twinges I feel when a leaf falls. I just know it.

Because most of them are in the third act of life, like me.  They’ve seen enough Octobers to know how precious each one is. They are already A students when it comes to this seeing and feeling stuff.  They see the same colors I do.

And so, we will talk, and laugh, and remember the Octobers of our lives tomorrow, together.  Isn’t that what women of a certain age do when they gather?

And then, we will write like our lives depend on it.

At least, that’s my plan.

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