October. Literally 8th month, but really 10th, marking the last 25% of the year. The calendar is full with pleasurable obligations— a political fundraiser, an Orff Chapter workshop, a meeting about the summer Ghana Course, a school performance by my Pentatonics Jazz Band and another SF Jazz workshop for kids, two workshops in the California valley, a visit from my in-laws, a Garrison Keillor performance. Then all the things not on the calendar—riding the rhythm of the school classes, working on the Goldberg Variations on piano and the constant slaps in the face and occasional pats on the back trying to play coherent jazz solos, finishing the first season of The Good Wife and beginning my ritual Fall Dickens novel, this time Barnaby Rudge. As the weather turns to that crisp cool Fall feeling, hope I’ll make some hearty soups, keep biking, maintain my morning meditations. 25 to 30 blogs are waiting to be written, the usual dozen e-mails a day and thank goodness, so far still resisting the i-Phone so no text messages to respond to. It looks to be a good month ahead.
And waiting near the end, the grand prize of…Halloween at school!!! The annual Intery Mintery ritual and two weeks of songs in D minor and evocative movement and expressive speech and singing. Capped off by trick or treating with the Interns on Belvedere Street.
What else do I hope for? First and foremost, continued progress toward impeachment of a President so unqualified and ignorant that he doesn’t even know Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory. How sweet it would be to time it for one year after last year’s Election Day. But I’m not naïve. I know those House Republicans have to inch closer to something called a conscience and we’ve all learned not to hold our breath for that. But one can always hope.
I woke up on this first day in October in Iowa City and turn to sleep in San Francisco. I marked both occasions by listening to The Incredible String Band’s October Song. It holds up.
“I met a man whose name was Time. He said “I most be going.”
But just how long ago that was. I have no way of knowing.
Sometimes I want to murder Time, sometimes when my heart’s aching.
But mostly I just stroll along, the path that he is taking.”
When I first heard that song in college, I took that literally and would spend hours wandering aimlessly in the Glen Helen Nature Reserve. My calendar then was filled with scheduled classes which I sometimes skipped in favor of that walk in the Glen. All my adult life, I tried to keep that kind of Sabbath strolling through Golden Gate Park on my Mondays off. Now it’s often spent catching up on e-mails and such. The world around me is ramped up to hyper-speed and the people I pass on the street or in the Park are all heads-down doing you-know-what. But my vow for October is to not just enjoy the scheduled events above, but to regain the sense of wandering with no purpose, slow down, savor, catch a falling leaf or two. May it be so!