October is here, and it’s feeling pretty anticlimactic.
October is the month I desperately look forward to each year. For more than a decade, Octobers have been a carefully planned and meticulously executed string of events, carrying us from one weekend to the next until suddenly, it’s All Saints Day. It’s a whirlwind of orange and apples and pumpkins and car rides and carnival rides and food and fun, and I LOVE IT.
But this October is going to be different. All the events I look forward to each year are cancelled because, as my 6-year-old says, COVID-19 cut in line. It sure did. It cut, and it’s elbowing its way into a lot of things we love. No one likes a cutter.
The biggest loss of all for me is the Circleville Pumpkin Show in Ohio. I may live twice as far away now, but even with moving, it remained a non-negotiable when it came to October adventures. This year there will be no rides, no quilt show with a pumpkin category, no elementary art projects, no pumpkin burgers or pumpkin chili or mini donuts with pumpkin cream. There will be no Andean flute music or parade of (marching) bands or pictures with the Pumpkin Man. There will be no pumpkin and gourd display, glowing in the overhead lights. My heart is BROKEN about this. It was how we marked time, more than first days of school or school pictures or birthdays or Christmas or last days of school. 2020 is going to have a big, gaping hole.
And yet, a lot of October things haven’t been cancelled. I can make pumpkin burgers and chili at home, and without such a hectic schedule, I can try even more delicious pumpkin recipes, like the pumpkin chocolate chip bundt cake with chocolate ganache sitting in the kitchen. I have also resurrected #31daysoforange, where I wear orange – conveniently my favorite color – every day of the month and post a hopelessly un-artsy picture to social media. (Check it out on my Instagram account, @algauthor!)
And maybe this is the year for me to just enjoy October itself. I can stop and take in the fiery maple leaves against a clear blue sky and enjoy crisp mountain walks. I can find new places to go that are a bit closer and a bit quieter. I can help the kids make “leaf houses” and listen to the rain. Maybe I’ll actually carve a pumpkin this year. And best of all, I can take the time to relive and cherish old memories without the chaos of making new ones.
This year, instead of managing October, I’m going to let it lead me.