October is daggers and her thoughts are knives. The Indians call it the Hunter’s Moon. They were out for blood. Their voices telling them to kill their prey; then, save, invest and diversify.
October’s thoughts start on the first cold morning and, if not thoroughly boiled or simmered, continue throughout the day. The voices tell you to take heed of the winds and stockpile; that soon the weak ones of the herds will drop off and perish. So, we kill the weak ones. We cut off their heads and wear them as masks.
The thoughts remind us of the finite nature of our glories and talents. But, these winds are deceiving by nature. So sly, in fact, that an ordinarily rational, well-adjusted person will start to believe them as they whisper scratches and knives into your ear.
The wind is sly but it is the light that is the most playful, and most sinister. It shines, too mature for purity, like women who recognize the tugs underneath their petticoats. It’s brawnier than its May cousins. It shines so much more boastful than its March counterpart.
The thoughts so insidiously slither through the space between windows in October, with many more demands than they had just weeks before. In an effort to buffer ourselves from the pinpricks or all out stabs, we take the comfort of a windowless room in the house. It must not have wide gaping holes, no badly sealed orifices.
We find our closet. We sniff into her flowery bosom and dream of peonies in those more innocent times. We sniff Father’s oxfords, the smell of mud in March thaws. It’s in those fragrant blankets that we find mother and father. Not in light and in the winds but in the ever faithful patchwork of old and worn.
There comes a point at which the light beckons us back out and we actually start to believe the merchandising. We step outside in sure betrayal of ourselves. We ride a brown, majestic horse that is, admittedly, gorgeous and golden. We feel the proverbial wind in our hair; how it strokes us, having put the knives away for the afternoon.
Until one day the horse we ride so freely becomes ghost in midair. She fades, dissolves, and calls herself so casually smoke and dust and light. Since we are in midair we find ourselves in that sticky conundrum of not knowing how to fly. Those of us who share in Secretariat’s unusually large ticker can glide for a time and actually experience a freedom that may surpass the ride on horseback. But despite our skills in coasting, the light sets. Evening reminds us of all we never accomplished and all that’s been left half-finished. Its reasoning is what leads us back to the closet. Soon those trips out of the cave become less and less frequent until, one day, it is in that spot that we demand to stay. We sleep well there for those first days, reborn into half existence with our feet most definitely never touching ground. When we are awake, the walls become such hearty, thoughtful and loyal conversationalists; fast friends, if you will. For in those long talks we find a world and believe strongly in its uniqueness. It is simply so rife with our colors; those that have taken the winter to stir, the spring to sprout, the summer to bloom, and now the fall to be coated and hardened. Eventually, however, the walls run out of things to say. We have, after all, taxed them thoroughly with the lament that so now, but usually unbeknownst to us, easily drips from our lips. It is right about then that we notice activity behind the door: mother’s shoes as they shuffle along the carpet.
“Mother, will you bring me my pillow and a sandwich, please?” We check for compliance.
“Of course, dear.”
“Mother?” Everytime we check if she is there and every time we ask her to, she brings us the gold.
“Yes, my love?”
Until one day her shuffling seems to have gained some new purpose.
“Mother? Can you bring me some warm cider?” Suspiciously, you wait. You listen for the slightest of breath and sigh. There is no answer but substantial shuffling.
Again, “Mother? I’m thirsty and my toes are cold.”
“Just a moment, okay honey? Mommy’s a little busy…” Phew! There is finally an answer…but, like a blow, her words are a strange smell through the door. You can hear her steps and sounds, foreign to you and to the room.
It’s not until you spot a bit of smoke and smell burning carpet fibers that you realize a most heinous betrayal has occurred right there in the Master Bedroom. While you lay nestled in her dresses and skirts, in between his worn leather shoes, the smell of plastic melting and then that of burning wood catches you by surprise. The trim of the closet door begins to glow and you aren’t cold anymore but, in fact, quite warm. The paint inside starts to bubble and peel and you find yourself alone in the Great Closet Fire. It was not started by the kick of anyone’s livestock; not by anyone’s old cow or playful goose. And surprisingly not even by a band of evil arsonist clowns, the way they would have you believe. It is your mother who bears the old match. It is she who begins that beautiful chemical reaction.