Saturday, October 1, 2016


It's been awhile. 

That sounds like it should be a great movie line, it is so full of understatement.

But - perhaps it's time, time to re-enter the blogging world that once brought me a lot of joy.  Other writing projects demand my focus and energy, but this - this is a good place to write the things that touch my heart and make my soul sing.  There is always a need for a soul to sing.

It's the first day of October.  Our little town (lest that sound more rustic than it really is, full disclosure requires I mention that we're on the edge of New York City's massive suburbia, deep in the heart of North Jersey) has Octoberfest today, and I can hear the sounds of music out my front door.

I can hear these sounds so well because it's a cloudy, drizzly, at turns rainy day.  It's not the day the planners envisioned, no doubt - but life goes on, and as long as sound systems can stay dry, the crooners and guitarists will be singing and strumming.

This month makes me think of my mother.  I'm glad to say (so very, very, very glad to say) that I don't need to just think of her - I can text her, call her, and see her in church tomorrow.  Her birthday is two weeks from tomorrow ( new Jan Karon book out this month, which has so often conveniently happened, so I'll need to think of something else.  Odds are Mom will find this blog, she's good like that, so my other ideas will have to stay very quiet), and October has always been Her Month.

October - the month of opals, leaves turning, temperatures lowering, days shortening.  It's a month of beauty, the kind that takes your breath away if you live where I live and drive where I drive.

My Mom introduced me to the writing of Gladys Taber, many years ago.  The Stillmeadow books line my mother's bookcase, and I am blessed to have a few myself. Somewhere in one of them, Gladys refers to this line from a poem called "Autumn" by William Watson,  in which the poet tells Autumn, "Be less beautiful or be less brief."

So - even though there is no bright blue sky as backdrop to these words, even though the day is on the dreary side, it's still the first day of October, and that alone is a reason to rejoice.

Helen Hunt Jackson wrote a wonderful poem about September.  It's my favorite September poem, I read it to my children (and still do) every year, and it always makes me smile (I am a summer girl, and September is a kind of bittersweet thing to me, but apples make it all OK).  This line is the best:  "Summer's best of weather, autumn's best of cheer."

So for my Mom, for my mom-in-law (now in heaven, who shared this month with her), for all who love this special time of year, here is Jackson's October poem.

October's Bright Blue Weather

O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather;

When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When Gentians roll their fringes tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October's bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October's bright blue weather.


  1. So glad to have you back in this space, sharing from your heart and life. Enjoy Mom's month. I never knew how much the world could change when one person left it until that person was my mother. What did I learn from that loss? That as my mother was precious to me, I'll never stop being an important part of my child's life. That's a good reminder to be intentional, every day. Next week when I see my beloveds I'll share this poem. Thank you!

    1. Nancy, that's a beautiful perspective! I remember thinking (when my mother-in-law was still alive) that she felt about my husband the way I feel about my son(s). It was almost jarring to realize that! Blessings to you and your family, I thank God for His care of you.

  2. Your writing has always brought me much joy, Donna-Jean. So very happy to have you back and writing about my special month, to boot. It's spring here, a time of growth and renewal. The perfect month for a birthday.

    1. You know, realizing that it's spring where you are is just wild to me :-) The poems from this hemisphere must be frustrating! But spring or fall, it's a beautiful month. Enjoy!

  3. I'm so glad you're back!

    We're enjoying the beginning of October here, too. I'm writing from a train. A lot of yesterday was on a bus. My kids and I have been ooing and awing at the fall colors like people at a fireworks display as we have crossed Ukraine. I can only imagine what New England looks like now!

    1. I can only imagine how much you've taught your children to *see* the beauty in the world, Phyllis!