ASK OCTOBER

by

Rebecca Somoskey

 

     The old woman stumbled slowly up the rough path with her eyes lowered. She spoke to the path. “Path, how can you be made smoother?”
     “Ask October” the path answered.
     Because she did not understand what the path meant, she trudged on, shivering against the autumn wind.
     She spoke to the wind. “Wind, how can you be made warmer?”
     “Ask October,” the wind whispered.
     She shrugged her shoulders and kept climbing.
     When she was half-way to the top, her heavy heart began to pound against her breast.
     She spoke to her heart. “Heart, how can you be made lighter?”
     “Ask October,” the heart replied.
     Her knees, elbows, fingers and toes complained against the cold. She spoke to them roughly, “Joints, how can your pain be eased?”
     Her joints did not reply.
By then she had reached the top of the ridge, so she turned to go back down.
     There before her was October, dressed in an ocean of burgundy, red, orange, yellow and green, her skirts billowing across every ridge and hollow as far as the eye could see.
     “October!” the old woman exclaimed. “You surely must be the envy of all the other months. Why has God chosen you to wear the most brilliant garment of them all?”
     “Winter is coming,” said October. “So drink my beauty with your eyes. Soak it into your skin. Breathe it into your soul.”
     And the old woman did.
     As she descended, the path felt smoother, the wind warmer, and her heart no longer ached. Even her joints refused to complain.
     She called to the mountains, “Winter is coming, yes. How will we endure?”
     The mountains replied, “Ask October.”