Tuesday, October 25, 2005


It's finally autumn in Alabama, with chilly breezes and cloudy skies. We turned the heat on at work for the first time yesterday, and I gave into the inevitable and put away my sandals until spring or the next warm day, whichever comes first.

October has always been one of my favorite months. September in Alabama is still summer with all its heat and humidity, but October brings cold snaps and changing leaves. Alabama versus Tennessee on a mild October Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Little kids in costumes knocking on your door and asking for candy, bringing back a thousand childhood memories.

October is pumpkins and haunted hayrides, growing shadows in the afternoon and condensation on your windshield in the morning. October smells different, like fallen leaves and the first hint of woodsmoke. The color of the day is different, the light cooler and more distant, the sun a lover who has not yet abandoned you for the delights of the other side of the world—but his eyes are starting to wander.

I fell in love for the first time in October, on a cold, crisp night in late October. Some friends and I had gone out to the boondocks to a "haunted" barn and talked the folks running the show to let us dress up and play monsters in the exhibit. Afterwards, the boy I really liked held my hand as cheesy eighties love songs played on the radio. It never went anywhere, much, but you never forget your first love.

I think I'm going to set my new book in October, this brief, golden time between hellish heat and relentless chill.

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