October: Month of transformation

October is month of transformation, the time when the trees drop their leaves, many birds head south, and the last flowers fold up their petals.

A 19th-Century English almanac ruminated on the month. “Though a melancholy feeling is associated with October from the general decay of nature by which it is characterized, there occurs nevertheless not infrequently in it some of the finest and most exhilarating weather of the year. Frosts in the mornings and evenings are common whilst the middle of the day is often enlivened by all the sunshine of July without its oppressiveness and the clearness of a frosty day in December or January without its piercing cold.”

Now there is optimism for you.

Meanwhile, the Saxons practiced their form of optimism in deeds, not words. They called October Wyn moneth or Weinmonat, the month for making wine — with which they could raise a glass to summer past, and warm their innards for the wintry winds ahead.—J.S.