The arrival of October brings, among other changes, a shift away from our summer playgrounds to those of colder breezes and snow. Where once we anticipated such predictable sea- sonal transitions, however, we now hold our breath as Mother Nature ever more frequently demonstrates her wrath, aroused by alterations of our atmosphere which, scientists warn us, are ushering in an era of global climate change. Autumn has always been the most beautiful of reminders of the natural order that surrounds us and sustains life on our planet. Will future generations experience the glo- ries we are about to witness?

As I thought back on fall seasons past, I vividly remembered my boy- hood days as ones spent among groups of children playing outdoors in the early evening dusk. Our only desire then was to somehow, magically, lengthen the precious hours of daylight each day and extend the sun’s warmth through October. I am told by parents that this is no longer the case. Today’s kids are indoors at that hour, busy preparing for the future they say, honing their communications and computing skills on a host of marvelous machines. The natural world out- side their windows is about to put on quite a show and I’m sad to think that many of them will miss it.

As city kids, our evening recreation took place on the neighborhood’s pavement. The girls’ games were situated on the relative safety of the side- walk, while the boys were relegated to the risks of the busy street. Strict gender segregation was the unwritten law in those times — girls played with girls and boys played with boys. It wasn’t until much later in life that we all realized what we’d been missing!

The girls’ activities were largely limited to Hopscotch and Double-Dutch rope-skipping contests. I marveled at the agility and natural grace of the participants, amazed by how easily they acquired the skills demanded by the game and their opponents.

The boys’ diversions were more athletic, competitive and rough. Favorites included Kick The Can, Buck-Buck, Hide and Seek, as well as ordinary foot races and jumping into deep piles of crisp autumn leaves.
The end of October brought the ines- capable cessation of our summertime activities. The unof cial signal was the celebration of Halloween, when all the neighborhood children would dress up in makeshift costumes, masks, and faces blackened with burnt cork, to wander house-to-house in search of treats.
Thinking back to those yesteryears, I’m reminded of the lyrics of “September Song.”

“Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December.

But the days grow short when you reach September. And the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame. One hasn’t got time for the waiting game.” The sublime moments in life are always so fleeting. What a blessing the memories.

-Art

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