The Cold October Rain
It’s not supposed to be this way. The rain I mean. The sullen, gray skies belong in November, not now, not here, not in October. The October rain is cold and steady. The day is morose and dark. Not a sad day but a melancholy mood could set in if I were not careful. The October rain comes too early; the world outside seems out-of-step with the world inside my mind.
I think we all sometimes let the little things carry our minds off to some dark corner where we don’t like to be. I am sure we all do it although don’t think anyone does it intentionally.
I hear the rhythm of rain pounding on the window from which I’ve observed many sunny, unseasonably warm, October days recently.
“Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain,
Telling me just what a fool I’ve been.
I wish that it would go and let me cry in vain
And let me be alone again…”
(The Cascades “Rhythm of the Rain” – written by John C. Gummoe)
But the seasons, like life, are a balance of good and bad, happy and sad, pleasure and pain, and beginnings and endings. No season goes gently into its own good night. No person should go gently into that good night either. I will not, At least I hope not.
You never know exactly how you’re going to feel when the race is done.
The rain, like tiny sabers made of ice, stabs at my summer skin. I’m not ready for this. Not ready for the pounding roar of the November gales or the chilling rain that cuts through my skin and slices down to my bones. I’m not ready.
But, in the grand scheme of things, the seasons and life will bring what they will and all we can do is do the best we can – and be the best we can be. And knowing that sometimes I won’t be prepared for what life or the seasons bring, I am thus better prepared for the unknown.
The older I get the more aware of this I become.
Summer has come and gone, but it was a good one; it certainly did not go gentle into that good night. It stayed with us well into October this year. The sunny, hot, humid days and warm, muggy nights stayed with us right into the breast of autumn. But like many things, it stayed beyond its time. Summer fought a brilliant and valiant fight for its life – right up to the end. But, in the end, it lost to a cold, biting October rain. The October rain.
Or did it? Maybe it really didn’t lose at all. Maybe it was time for it to go. Maybe it was tired and ready to let go. Summer in October was out-of-season and out-of-place. It didn’t belong there. It lost its purpose; it lost its way.
The crops were grown and harvested, the trees were tired and barely awake, and the flowers were exhausted – brown and dying. Autumn was born and it is its time to live. Summer needed to die. It only the cycle of the seasons, and it is just like the cycle of life.
The October rain is pounding on my window, the skies are leaden and burgeoning with gloom. It’s strange but now that the sun has gone away, I cannot remember what a sunny day looks like. I can close my eyes and I can visualize it, but I can’t “feel” it. I can’t feel the bright warm rays on my skin.
But any visualizations I have of sunny days aren’t nearly as good as a single sunny day. That’s a good thing. Summer deserves its own time; a sunny summer day is a fleeting treasure – as it should be.
I have a strange way of thinking. The sunny summer day reminds me that when I am ill I cannot quite remember what it feels like to be well. And when I am well, I can’t quite remember what it feels like to be sick. But even I can’t really remember what it feels like to be sick. I’m quite sure I don’t want to be sick. There is always something that seems to be trying to keep us in the present and focused on the moment. And that’s a good thing. Because all we really have for sure is now.
The October rain will end sometime soon, and the sun will come back. And though summer died today, it will be born again when it is time. And that’s all I need to know.
I don’t remember what summer felt like, so I’ll enjoy the rain today – as cold and brutal and as stinging and heartless as it may be.
Right now I’m going to put on my rain gear and go for a walk in the wind and the rain and be glad I’m alive. Tomorrow, when the sun shines, I won’t remember exactly how the rain sounded or how the icy rain felt on my face; tomorrow I will enjoy the sun and the painted autumn trees and try hard to remember a summer that fought so hard to stay alive even in the October – the month of the fading light.
And like the seasons, we all have our time. We need to make the best of it. I was reminded recently, by a dear friend of mine who quoted Mohammed Ali – “Don’t count the days, make the days count”.
We don’t know how many days we have left. So why bother counting. We need to make every day count. There are things which are important and things that are not – and sometimes it’s not so easy to tell the difference. If you don’t believe that, look around you. It seems everyone wants to be young as long as they can, even when they are old. To be young is to be envied in our world. But youth, like summer, fades into the autumn of our lives and then we find ourselves in the winter of old age. But just because I am in the winter of my life, I won’t go gentle into that good night. No one should want to.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night…
(Dylan Thomas “Do not go gentle into that good night”)
Sometimes it’s hard to live within ourselves. So many things try to tug me one way or the other. To know what is important and what is not is not an easy task.
My season has turned to winter and I can no longer remember what that warm, summer sun felt like on my skin. No matter how much I long for summer it won’t come no matter how much I wish it would. I am better off accepting my winter and enjoying it as much as I can.
The seasons of life and the seasons of nature are endlessly changing. All of us are in a season of life. Some of us are in the springtime of life, and others, like me, are in the winter of life. Everyone else is somewhere in between.
In the end, it will not matter how much money I made, how many material things I’ve collected, or what I accomplished, the only thing that will matter is how much I am loved by the ones I love.
My winter is here, and I will rage, rage against the dying of the light, the only way I will ever see another spring is through the memories of those who loved me.
The October rain is cold. Its icy fingers stab my summer skin. I’m chilled.
The dark and melancholy October sky took the hot summer away. But I do love the October rain – it will make the next sunny day seem even brighter and the autumn trees look all the more vivid.
And on the next sunny day, I won’t remember exactly what these icy drops of rain felt like. This moment in time is the only moment I have; it’s all I can experience.
Memories fade and they are always colored by the now No memory will ever be accurate – they will never be exactly the way they really were. Memories are always distorted by “now”.
Yesterday was tomorrow, and tomorrow will be today. And the cycle of life and of seasons will go on until the end of the world. “No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
I walk through the October rain toward an unknown tomorrow – enjoying this moment on a dark and rainy October day. Yesterday is miles behind me and tomorrow is miles away. This moment is a gift, and I am thankful for it.
I am thankful for this day and for the October rain.