When I was a kid, I didn't like autumn. Autumn meant gray skies, gray trees, gray ground. I was well and truly adult before I discovered that the gray comes between autumn and winter. Autumn itself is color: Bright, brilliant, contrasting, changing.
Last year's September and October were rough for me; this year's were also. September was Grandma's birth month, and October Grandpa's. Autumn became, last year, a season of emptiness, of everything dying, never to return.
After a shaky start, this autumn is turning into a season of peace and wonder. It doesn't feel like death. It is merely change. A change with so much wonder and subtleties and beauty that it lifts any spirit. No more needing to worry about the future. As sure as there are trees losing leaves, there will be trees sprouting new ones. The days are shortening, but they are also heading for the turn, the solstice, the march towards longer days.
It's not the permanence of things we can trust in, because nothing stays the same. We can trust in the process, though, the continuing cycle of birth, growth, maturity, rest, rebirth - whether it be ideas, ourselves or nature (though last year I raged at the lack of things staying the same).
And I noticed today, for the first time, that a painting of Norwegian scenery done by Grandma was given as a birthday present to Grandpa; it says so in the signature: "To John - Oct 7 1950 - Marion".
There is so much love behind that simple greeting. It is a reminder of all the love they had for each other - and for the children in their care: My mother and myself. October has become a month of hope and hearts.