5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Five things you can see,
Four you can hear,
Three you can feel,
Two you can smell,
One you can taste.
October is an attack on the senses in the best way. The colors shift slowly and then all at once from the greens of summer into deep reds and oranges and yellows. The sky looks bluer, and the clouds develop a darker grey. The sun cuts through at sharper angles, bringing moments of warmth to colder days and turning the world golden.
October is all things magic and moody. It’s crunching leaves and gusts of chilling wind and crisp mornings accompanied by warm pumpkin-flavored coffee. It’s steam and steeping tea and impossibly blue skies and yellow ginkgo leaves falling to the ground, finished with their annual performance.
Growing up, I always looked forward to October. It was the month that held my best friend’s birthday and Halloween, meaning the possibility of two sleepovers. We always had pizza and her mom’s infamous chocolate chip pumpkin bread and the absolute best time. We trick-or-treated as long as we possibly could, toting around our plastic pumpkins, telling jokes house to house. When we returned home, we dumped our spoils on her bedroom floor, sorting and trading our candy until bedtime was unavoidable.
Now that I am unfortunately too old to trick-or-treat, I’ve found new joys in the arrival of October. The changing colors have invited me on many an afternoon walk—often accompanied by a podcast—and the latest series by Emily P. Freeman on her show, The Next Right Thing, has left me inspired. On a podcast for those who struggle with decision-making (me) or are in need of an escape (also me), one recent episode delves into strategies for combating fear (among other things) by becoming aware of your senses—redirecting a fear of the future into full appreciation of the present moment.
To do so, you go through the countdown: five, four, three, two, one.
5. I see: Colorful leaves meandering their way to the ground, the stark blue sky peeking through tree branches, pine needles carpeting the ground beneath their former home, a dad playing basketball with his daughter, and the bug that won’t stop targeting my eyes (despite its limitless available airspace).
4. I hear: The wind rustling the leaves, acorns crunching beneath my feet, the creek babbling alongside my path, and the neighbor children shrieking with joy as they jump in a freshly raked pile of leaves.
3. I feel: The warmth of my apple cider in my hand, the chill of night air cutting through my sweatshirt, and the power of laughing with friends in the midst of a difficult year.
2. I smell: The smoke from a nearby campfire and the freshly cut grass from my neighbor’s yard.
1. And I can still taste the pumpkin cream cold brew I treated myself to this afternoon (12/10 would recommend).
October is unfolding into a better month, not because anything in the world has changed—which it unfortunately has not—but because I am intentionally looking for the good in October. I’ve seen beauty in the magic of changing seasons, the (safe) gathering of friends and family, and the nostalgia of Octobers past. Even while everything is changing, the cadence of October remains the same, and the earlier fading of light signals that, despite the chaos swirling around us, it is time to rest.
Olivia graduated from Calvin in May 2018 with a double major in business and writing. She now works as an editor in Nashville, Tennessee and is eating her way through the restaurants of her new town. She enjoys weekend trips with friends, petting other people’s dogs, and drinking coffee like a Gilmore Girl.