Being Aware & Present this October


October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen. It is the distant hills once more in sight, and the enduring constellations above them once again.  Hal Borland 

Last week, I wrote a post about my need to reclaim the power of pink this Pinktober. While the “awareness v. research” debate rages on and pink ribbons festoon everything from toilet paper to Mike’s Hard Lemonade, I feel the need to reclaim something that is even dearer to me than pink – and that is October itself. I love autumn. I’m not a winter sports kind of girl, and I’m not a worshiper of summer.  My season is first and foremost, autumn.

My enjoyment of the season starts at the beginning of September, which I associate with a new school year and new beginnings.  Since 9/11, the first two weeks of September aren’t as happy as they used to be, before we lost a good friend in the Twin Towers. But we put our heads down and plow on, pushing forward to the cooler days of October and the wonder of leaves falling like snow in my back yard. The crispness of the air, the color of changing leaves, nesting at home, cooking soup – that is October to me.

I know a lot of breast cancer survivors who find the “pinkness” of October unsettling. I also know a lot of breast cancer survivors and their supporters who revel in each walk, pink ribbon and chance to show their support of the cause. No one is wrong. Each of us comes to this place having fought our own good fight and that is validation enough.

Right now, however, I just want to focus on October itself and its bigger message. Autumn is a season of harvest and of preparation. It’s a time to reap what has been sown and to get ready for the coming harshness of winter. Isn’t that what all of life is about: trying to get meaning out of what has come before, while steeling ourselves for what may lie ahead?

Today, like I did for pink, I’d like to remind myself of what October used to mean, because I’d like to be both “aware” and “present” with this beautiful month:

1.  Pumpkin picking.

2.  Carving Jack-O-Lanterns.

3.  Car trips to look at fall foliage.

4.  Apple picking and the baking of apple pies.

5.  Football Games and tailgating.

6.  The playoffs and the World Series, especially if your team makes it.

7.  Fall Festivals.

8.  Making costumes and trick-or-treating with children.

9.  Raking leaves – and jumping into the pile.

10.  Making a scarecrow.

I’m going to try very hard this month to focus on what makes me happy about the month. These are just a few things I thought of that make October special. I bet you can add more to the list. Let me know what you’ll be doing this month to be present in this most wondrous month.

Survival > Existence,


Image courtesy of Nicole Nicky



Nancy's Point's picture

Despite all the pink hoopla

Despite all the pink hoopla that seems to take over October, it is still my favorite month of the year. I will not give that up! Thank you for this reminder.


Debbie's picture

I’m With You!

You are so welcome! It’s my favorite month too and I want to celebrate it. For me, it comes down to remembering that my cancer doesn’t define me.

Survival > Existence,



Luci Weston's picture

Might I Add #11?

Debbie: What a great list! I’m adding one of my favorites, Candy Corn! Don’t know why, but those little triangular, tri-colored candies make me so happy at this time of year. Thanks for the “aware” and “present” reminder… very important to live this every day.


Debbie's picture

Yes You Certainly May!


I can’t believe I forgot candy corn!  My daughter loves them too and just told me we have to buy some soon! There is something about them – a “sweet” reminder of our youth perhaps?

Thanks so much for adding to my list!

Survival > Existence,


One thought on “Being Aware & Present this October

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