An Ode to October

Photo by Sydney Stoddard

By Sydney Stoddard

There’s an understanding to the air of October. Like it gets it. It gets that the world is dark and scary and terrifying – but also full of wonder and potential and magic. It urges you to see both – both the ghosts behind closet doors and the floating candles in the hallway – dancing in their purple and radiant glory. They simply are. Maybe the ghosts can bring you milkshakes instead of terrors. Maybe the vampires are simply just as messed up as we are. Maybe instead of trying to be anything we’re not, we can strip down and face the monsters and magic we always have been. There’s no need to be all sparkles and rainbows in the eyes of October – that’s December’s job.

October looks at us and hands us a closet of possibility, playing mirror masked as dress-up, asking for reflection in a whimsical tone. We can become our favorite characters, the ones we ran to when life reminded us how scary it can be. The ones that we wish we were. The ones we actually are – if we didn’t have to play the parts we feel we have to, that we’ve been so ungraciously given. 

In October, there’s a spirit of mystery. A spirit of the beyond. Of saying no. of ignoring what others think and what you’ve been told and what you’ve been taught you ought to think about a time of year. It’s rebellious and conscious and full and absolute hevel. For once, it’s all smoke and mirrors – and that was the point, that was, in fact, the joy of it all. The world can come to life in ways it doesn’t get to the rest of the year- as monsters crawl from earth and spirits emerge from the shadows and starlight flutters just a bit more than usual. The world can awaken, unleashing all its bits and boos – and become. Not pretend, not put on, not hide away – but become. Awaken. Come alive.

There’s room for fear at the table of October – it was made for that. There’s room for weird questions, odd particularities, and the things we can’t quite know yet – that will always remain just beyond our grasp of reality. The world does not have to be peaceful or kind or perfect or idyllic in October. It can be dying and changing and terrifying and mesmerizing all at once. It can be both horror and beauty at the same time. Inspire both awe and terror in the same breath. 

And, as I’ve grown, somehow October’s become this warm embrace. This Ecclesiastical exhale of yes, the world is what it is – but it can become. There can be more behind the veil and there’s space for both evil and wonderful. Perhaps it’s because it’s the one season where I choose the playlist, or because it feels like a wonderful season anyway – cooler and crisper and just the right color palette. Or perhaps, like I keep beguiling, it’s how it rouses the poetic in me – in all her parts.

Here, at last, is a festive season that can take humanity as it is – instead of a humanity it tries to pretend exists. For once we can be monsters and creatures and big bags of questions and uncertainties – instead of twinkling bows or sparkly red hearts or beings gushing with pure love, joy, peace, and patience for all of eternity, amen. For once we can just be – in crappy costumes and honest moonlight – cobbled together sharing our pursuit of magic, of the beyond, of what could be – rather than what has to be. You can scream at the festivities, you can cry, you can be all you are, and more. You can be terrified and anxious and inquisitive and thoughtful and uncertain. You can hold a flashlight, quivering, and not be rushed to find the answers- because perhaps the questions were always the point anyway. 

There is no story to October. There is simply to story we create. That we find. That we decide to uncover. And that – the freedom of it, the honesty of it, the sheer potential of it – is why my spirit always exhales a little deeper whenever I realize – oh, it’s October.


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