Today marks the first day of October. Superficially, nothing’s significant about today. Climatologically, October ranks sixth in terms of overall warmth in West Michigan, barely edging its closest rival, April. The decline of high temperatures, which peak mid-July, accelerates. Already, signs of the color turn dot the trees. A few days ago, a cool spell—daily highs dipped into the mid-to-upper 50s—reminded us that we’re gearing up for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the new year.
October in the Grand Rapids area starts nice, in typically in the upper 60s, and ends cool, typically in the 50s. Lows can reach into the 30s (and are projected to this week, in fact, according to the National Weather Service).
I love this time of year.
The hustle of the summer calms. The motif of harvest and the transition from life-to-death reminds us of the circle of life. Shorts and flip-flops give way to jeans and boots. Sweaters come out, windows close a bit, and days begin to shorten noticeably as we slide into the homestetch before the solstice. The urge to grab a book (I just bought the first volume of The Gulag Archipelago) grows larger while my recliner and a warm fire and a purring cat conspire to abduct me on the first genuinely cold night of the season. Things get quieter. Silence, a peaceful quietude, descends almost like a lamb.
All this downshifting coincides nicely, I think, with an Advent-like spirit of renewal. Of all the liturgical seasons, Advent’s my favorite, in part becuase I’m always the most inspired to re-think and renew in that narrow window between my birthday and the final denuding of the trees.
In the last two weeks, I’m down seven pounds. Most of my inboxes are cleared out and my task-list recurated on a strategic scale. A new, slower rhythm already governs my weekly schedule. My stress levels—normally imperceptible to me—feel lower. Between an increase in hiking and hitting my exercise bike, and a day spent kayaking, and evenings focused on writing, I’m unwinding a bit, and planning for a calmer but more meaningful 2020 by thinking about foundational stuff and dialing back the aggressiveness of my goals list.
It’s a good day. A quiet day.