October's Approach

It's nearly October. Fall is creeping up, in its typical, tentative northern California fashion. Tonight, I feel its breath on the back of my neck. The air has the electricity, the sparkle that it gets in the fall; crisp and kind of juicy. You can taste the air, like biting into a cruchy apple, and it's delicious.

October has always been my favorite month. It's inviting, invigorating, somehow exciting and alive, and it makes me feel the same way. Maybe it's fall's warning of the approaching dormancy of winter that makes these days so precious, like the youthful reminiscences of an aging man.

On the best days, a white and gray drama is played out in theatre of the skies, punctuated with patches of Summer's still tenacious blue that lingers like a little kid that just doesn't want to go to bed until after the late show, and then drifts to sleep on the couch in a parent's warm embrace, to be carried, gently, to a cozy bed. When the sun sets, the skies catch fire, and I sometimes watch until the last embers have faded into the deep purple of voluptuous night.

Tonight, as I drifted out for a walk with the pups, I felt those October things, those magical things In the air, I could almost smell the year's first pumpkin pies mingling with the wood smoke from a neighbor's fire, and the Latakia smoke of my own pipe. And, I wondered how many days of cool, dry bike rides I had left this year.

The approach of fall, too, brings greater joy to the pleasures of the pipe. The electric air seems to tease more flavor out of each strand of tobacco, and then it mischievously grabs on to the lingering aroma of the fragrant smoke, holding it, refusing to let it go until at last I've had a chance to savor it for a second time. Sure, Winter's good for smoking by the fire, but Fall is best for smoking amidst the trees, walking on a carpet of colorfully fallen leaves, watching the last great performance of the year, as nature performs her own late show in preparation for her Winter nap.

October has always been my favorite month, and tonight, I felt it, smelled it, heard it coming. I think I'll have to watch the late show. How else will I get to sleep?