We’re home from Ireland now and it’s October. Month of my birth. Moon of the hunter, of the harvest. Month of Scorpio, tourmaline, jasper and opal. In these weeks the earth chills, spiders spin webs, the leaves turn and we in turn reach for woolly jumpers. For scarves and mittens and thermostat switches. For Mum’s marrow and ginger soup.
October always feels like home to me. The best month. Littered with acorns and conkers; thick socks, black cats and pie spiced with cinnamon. The dusk before true winter sets in. All my fondest memories fall in October; strolling through arboretums turned orange, through bright-gold-bulb-lit fairgrounds at night. On a balcony watching the fireworks in the distance; dressed in my best dress, in the arms of a parent, Snow White cake and paper fan still sitting on the table downstairs.
October is the month of Samhain and Mabon and All Hallows’ Eve. After the autumnal equinox it marks the darker side of the year. And whilst I won’t ever be comfortable commemorating evil – revelling in all that unnerves and disturbs me – I recognise a place for darkness; a season and space in life for death and decay. We cannot always have sunshine and sweetness. There must be time for a temperament more silent, sombre and severe.
I’m not sure how much one’s perception of themselves can be trusted, but I’ve always tended to think of myself as more serious and solemn than my peers. More want to reflect; to understand and analyse the situations I find myself in. Silence has always come comfortably to me, as has sorrow and an inclination to withdraw and take stock. I remember many playtimes in school I spent sitting on the side; preferring to think, than to play. And now as an adult (well kind-of) I frequently find myself in “fun” situations; on trips out or days away. And I find I don’t want to explore or lie on the beach or “do nothing” as much as I want to reflect and write and study and create; to make mini-montage-movies, to read a book on the history of this place, to listen to those other people’s stories and weave wild stories of my own out of them. I want a rainy day excuse to stay in and read; to curl up in a cobwebbed corner and draw. I want to find the silence and stay up late into the night crystallising my thoughts on the window like ice. I want to find the words to explain, when you ask all confused – stringing up your sentence like bunting that hangs in the air before me – “I’ve never met someone before who doesn’t want this… or enjoy that… who’d rather something else”. I want a substantial answer to cut that bunting down.
I’m 24 this month. And because that feels so unnervingly old (because inside I think I should probably be 23 for some time yet) I started writing a list. 25 before 25. 30 before 30. Maybe just however many before I kick the bucket?Setting myself things to accomplish, in an attempt to ensure time isn’t wasted. Things that over the years, look less like destinations on a map and more like books on my shelf, drawings on my wall, glass jars on my bookcase filled with old seeds and beans and buttons.
With time I’m finding that enjoying myself doesn’t look so much like travelling or eating out or “taking a day off”, as much as it does photographing those destinations, making that meal myself or spending a day locked away just me and my sketchbook. I’m an October child. Give me dark early evenings and late night conversations; moon-risings, fir trees and cold fingered campfires. Lock me away in a library or leave me alone with my camera; I just want to think and create and learn and make. And so Spring can wait.