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October 19, 2009

October Sky



Jack and I headed out on Saturday morning for our walk. The first cool front of the year arrived Friday night and this was one beauty of a day. It was about 60 degrees with a little breeze to put a spring in your step. I mean, not only couldn't I help but notice, I said out loud on a couple of occasions, "Man, what a beautiful day." Then, I laughed when I listened to what I was saying and what it meant to me. We had turned the corner on this year and summer ... finally.

We get a few of these sorts of rejuvenating days around here. And many of them are in October.

I love that October sky. Clear, blue, and true. It's back.

We don't know much about winter in these parts. We get a few weeks of that, at most. We get a couple weeks of spring, and maybe a few of fall, if we are lucky. Mostly, we get summer. Boy, do we get summer. (Texans are especially skeptical of global warming claims, for one thing, because we remember that it has been hot as hell as long as we have all been alive and we have never met any one here who can tell us any different.) Yes, summers are seemingly endless on the Gulf Coast. There would be no humans here but for the invention of the air conditioner.

What keeps the populace upbeat, though, is that we know that the summers eventually end. How do we know? Well, the newcomers have heard that they do. But for the rest of us, we've actually experienced it. And it usually happens in October. From a psychological standpoint, fall in Texas is pretty much like spring in the Northeast. That first front blows in ...

And all is new again. Hope springs eternal. It's football season. Hey, there's even some color on those trees. Look over there.

"Man, what a beautiful day." Remember the last time you looked upon beauty that compelled you to speak out?

Even though we know the summer will end, sometimes it still seems like it won't. We have seen it before, though, for the October sky returns every year. We should have faith, but we lose heart. I wonder if life itself is not like this, as well.

That is, we have lived through a lot of life's long, hot summers, but we have seem them end before. Through observation and intuition, we know that life has cycles. Good times come; good times go. We know that there are things we can't regulate or understand completely, lest they either fundamentally change or end.

For me, I know that God is faithful and have seen His mercies return anew in my life on countless occasions. So, when I go through a long, hot summer of life, I know that October will eventually come. Mind you, I don't know when the first front will be here, and I have my moments of bitching about the heat, if you will. But I do believe I will see the October sky again. How? Well, I've seen it before. And it has never failed to return.

Friends, these are dark days in America. You don't hear me (the alleged "Pollyanna" around here) talk this way much at all, but it's true. I realize that we are in the midst of a long, hot summer. We don't know when or how it will end. We mere mortals never know how the story ends, truth be told. We don't get the script, only our parts.

But this we know: People are uneasy, afraid, and wondering if we have lost something special here ... and perhaps permanently. For the first time in our history, many people believe that their children are not going to have a better life than they had here in America. People wonder aloud if America is going to be what she has been, and also many now openly wonder if our adversaries abroad have inexplicably gained the upper hand.

But I believe that we will make it. I really do. I have a deep-seated confidence that this long, hot American summer will end and we will see a renewal much like we did in 1980. How can I believe this? Like I can't create or predict the first cool front, I don't know the mechanism, or the time that America's long, hot summer will end. But I have seen it so many times before. And I know that the faith, the courage, and the spirit that brought on prior American renewals is still alive.

How? Well, I rub shoulders with it ... with them ... yes, with you every day.

We will be okay.

I am not a prophet, if you will. But ...


I do still believe in October skies.

24 comments:

MRMacrum said...

One man's renewal is another mans ruination. But I do agree that we are in odd times. Awkward times like I remember we went through when coming out of the Pollyanna 1950s and into the realities of the 1960s. Through it all, I never thought we would not make it. I just knew Life would never be the same. But like your October Sky, Life is insistent. It always returns but with different clouds on the horizon.

Opus #6 said...

DC, you feel that way because you live in TEXAS, man! That is one of the most patriotic areas of these United States. You are one lucky guy. You know what they say. Location, location, location.

Anonymous said...

MRM,

I would say that life goes on ... but the same sun and sky reappear. I suppose you could see clouds in those pictures if you choose to, if you really want to. Me? I see blue skies and sun.

Opie, it's not simply location. It's the people that live here, and the values they hold dear. I know you know that. We could have some pretty interesting chicken-and-egg conversations about this one, for sure. They live in California, too.

In the end, it's about what we believe, what we choose to believe on a daily basis even when challenged, and also our history of getting up when knocked down. Americans from every part of the country can identify with this.

And as for living here ... I was born here, moved away, but then I moved back ... for the summers, of course.

Doom said...

From your writing, I should guess that moving back for any season other than summer might be a bit problematic. *smile*

About your post... Hope springs eternal. But only in those who understand there is something which allows even the worst that can happen to be minor events in the grand scheme? I'm working on it.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, Doom. Looking at your picture reminds me ... "Stay the hell away!" But I jest.

Yes, times like these focus and forge us. It does take a perspective beyond the here and now to persevere. That's what we are reminded of during times like these.

It also takes a sense of history and an ability think in spite of the sweat and grime. All of this comes back to an exercise of character.

I am working on it, too.

Anonymous said...

DC, I always return to Texas for the waters. (Apologies to Humphrey Bogart).

I'm gonna clip this post and pin it to my fridge. I also see a resurgence and backlash. I just have a problem seeing a victory. You are now one of my official life cheerleaders.

powdergirl said...

A beautiful post and sentiment DC. I'm an optimist myself, and I agree that America will see cooler climates again, y'all have pulled yourselves up by your bot straps before, you'll do it again.

Ps.

I've only been to Texas once, in January.

It snowed a good 5 flakes, hard and fast, they shut the roads down. Closed Austin for business. Rolled up the sidewalks. Done.

Very confusing for a Canadian who is even today out splitting firewood under cold but pretty blue skies. Global warming is pretty hard to swallow when you're wearing mitts in October, too.

Anonymous said...

Nick,

I see a backlash coming, too. That's another way to look at it. It's undeniable.

Onto the larger point, though ...

A bit of advice, old friend ... Focus on today. Take care of what is on your plate today. Stay of good cheer. Do your job and help others on the team when they need you. Fight the good fight on every front in your sphere of influence. Influence where you can. Stay relentlessly positive. Never, never, never give in in staying true to what you know is right. Remember the people who love you. Repeat the foregoing tomorrow.

Focus on this process and eventually you'll see the victory.

P-Girl, thanks very much. You are a merry soul. Man, the thought of splitting firewood in October. We can dream. Oh, Canada!

I know, Texans are hilarious when it snows ... unless you driving and then it's terrifying. Bumper car city. I bet we'll get to try again this winter.

Anonymous said...

Gimme a D...
Gimme a C...

Anonymous said...

What does that spell?

Chiropractor!!

Rhod said...

September and October here are wood-splitting time only if you haven't gotten to it earlier. This is the first year since 1980 that I don't have a few cords ready to go.

By January I'd get down to the spiders and beetles that nestled near the bottom of the stacks out of the ambient cold.

We would start the next pile rather than expose them to death by freezing. Winter does that to you. Everything struggles to survive, and you give the smallest creatures a break.

Something in that October sky lifts you a little higher than the animal you are in July.

lady di said...

A simple pleasure still free and untaxed. Looking up, through snow flakes, at the October sky.

Anonymous said...

Lady, looking up through snowflakes carries a 7.2% VAT.

Bungalow Bill said...

We will make it because of Americans like you who understand what it is that makes you so appreciative of what we have.

chupacabra said...

I WANT to believe.

Anonymous said...

Rhod, we do the same in summer ...

Lady, that was a great sentiment till Nick slapped a lien on it.

Thanks, Bill and Chup. We need each other. You get a lot of what you expect in life. This is not some hooey about relativism, but rather that if we expect to prevail, we give ourselves a better shot. We just do. Doesn't mean we can levitate our way there, but we can miss opportunities by thinking they don't exist.

scunnert said...

DC - my youngest daughter has the Lone Star tattooed on her arm courtesy of the Trail of Dead. That's probably beyond your ken.

But I enjoyed this post up here, as I am, in the Great White North. You are as one with your place on earth.

Frances Davis said...

DC, living all my life on the Gulf Coast, I know exactly what you mean about October. It is when the air is finally "thin" enough to breathe deeply.

I agree too, that we will again have a time of clear weather in our country, but it won't come with passivity. "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." -- Thomas Jefferson

We must be willing to speak -- not only to our legislators, not only with our vote, but to each other.

Let us boldly speak out about what we still believe is right and good about America. The next time we are at one of those football games, let's really SING our National Anthem . . . sing it like we are proud to be Americans!

Let us bring the cool air of freedom and liberty back to our shores on our own very breath! Let us stand up and be counted, let us stand up and speak, let us stand up and sing!

Anonymous said...

Trail of Dead ... I had to wiki that. Figures they are from Austin, an island of illusion in a sea of reality, Scunnert.


Frances, I knew that fellow Gulf Coast residents would identify with the October sky. It's a beauty, ain't it. And I really appreciate your comments and your spirit.

They Say/We Say said...

And the people, from all over the world live and work and play, Houston brings people together. Remember the First Win, the Rockets won the Championship? Every one partied, no riots. I talked to some Cops and they said no calls that night except for regular disturbances (mostly family). I said, We showed the whole world how to party. The cops just smiled and nodded.

Anonymous said...

TSWS,

Was at the parades. After the first one, took my family to James Coney Island at Dallas and Travis for some coneys. Man, those were the days.

Yes, the weather stinks but it's a great town.

Soloman said...

As you described the weather, I would have sworn you were talking about my (now) home state of Arizona, for here we also breathe easier come October, knowing that we are in the beginning of a reprieve.

Thank you for your words, DC. This post was truly inspired and definitely hit home, and is a great reminder of how glad I am to have connected with all of you wonderful people.

The Conservative Lady said...

DC:
I, too, want to thank you for this lovely, uplifting post.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Soloman and Conservative Lady, for your words of encouragement. Knowing others like you are out there is important. Remember your own contributions in your own spheres of influence. Press on.