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Today is October 21, 2019

Outdoors

That glorious month of October

By Tony Kinton

That glorious month of October

October was initially the eighth month. The early Roman calendar contained only 10 months. A revision of this early calendar, likely instigated by Julius Caesar, created one that included 12 months, January and February added. That left October, its root meaning eight like in octopus, out of place. Still, the name stuck. As a result of this jiggling around of days and months and years, the eighth month became the tenth month and remains that in the Gregorian system we implement today.

All those rather tedious facts aside, October is known for its autumn grandeur. True, autumn may officially begin with the autumnal equinox in September. There is, after all, that curious slant of shadows during September. But it is October that must be considered real autumn, particularly here in Mississippi. This is the time when conditions are ripe for the spectacles we associate with fall.

What are those spectacles? The list is long, and offering comment about each would fill a lengthy treatise. Still, effort will be made here to highlight some of the obvious and perhaps even a few that are more veiled but still present. First to consider is the color show.

Leaves will change colors in October. Depending upon weather conditions, these changes may be blatant or subtle. But they will be visible. Some could present in the form of hushed hues, with only a hint of what is to come. Others, already draped in brilliance, may practically attack. Those subtle ones could appear as little more than lush green losing its wealth, succumbing to tempered gold or quiet brown or gentle yellow, submissive in their journey toward enhanced glamour. Not unlike a makeup session preceding the party that ultimately finds the made up wearing a soft amber gown trimmed in ferruginous lace.

And those in their new and complete wardrobes of effulgence will be simply breathtaking. They fairly glitter in their redness; orange too.

When viewed from a hillside down into a hollow, they create the illusion of a patchwork quilt, a soft bed prepared for some occupant to come and rest, renew, thrill to the visual spectacle.

And there are more displays, soft-spoken most of them. That tenuous sheen of a placid lake festooned with poplars and tupelo gums and cypress. The distant drone of insects paying best regards to a passing day. Browned and curled cornstalks executing the percussion part to a favorable-breeze symphony.

A sand ditch, dry most likely, along a hardwood bottom.

All are available in abundance. All can be found in this eighth month, which became the tenth month but is nonetheless well-named — October.

Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. Visit www.tonykinton.com for more information.

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