October, the eighth month according to the Ancient Roman Calendar, always strikes me as slightly mad, the month that likes to go ‘over the top’. Just think of the balmy days of Indian Summer, the colours of the leaves, both as a shimmering, multi-coloured flame of light on the trees as well as a carpet of pure gold, bronze, red and orange underfoot. Think of the last heroic efforts of the garden to repay the gardener for all his hard work during the year; you will surely agree with me.
The ground underfoot and the late afternoon sky seem to be in a competition as to who can produce the most magnificent spectacle. The hues exactly complement each other, I feel like the filling in a sandwich of gold.
October holds on to the affirmation of life by giving us plentiful reasons for celebrating nature's bounty in the form of fairs and festivals.
After the September rains, the river is finally in spate again, carrying brown soil stolen from the fields and banks further upstream on its back. The generous flow keeps trees and bushes growing alongside green and fresh for a little while longer. Even the river seems to want to join in the celebrations, the greens and browns and the silver sparkle of the rippling water add to the carnival of colours.
There is a flourish, an abundance, a fabulous cheerfulness and unashamed boastfulness about October that ill-prepares us for the reminder of death and decay that November brings.
But for now, we celebrate, the bunting is out.