October at an End


As it generally happens around here, one night we dropped 40 degrees and when we woke up it was autumn.

I was glad in a way, as I had finished the hat I had just put on the needles when last I wrote; of course you always want to wear a new thing! It is a fun hat.


And for quite a while the rain continued: slow and steady and every single day. It went on until the water treatment plant was full of silt and we spent a week boiling all our water before drinking it. Judging by the sheer number of plastic water bottles purchased (when I went to Costco on Friday the aisles were one cart wide because of pallet after pallet of mountains of cases of bottled water), some people haven’t mastered the art of boiling water yet. I didn’t find it very troublesome, but now that a week’s gone by and we can drink from the tap again, I am surely grateful.

The landscape continues to be alive with color. Pumpkins aren’t the only orange stars around here.


I buy pumpkins and mums at Trader Joe’s. Something to arrange by the front window so that kids will know we have candy here. Haven’t decided whether I’ll make Jack-o’-Lanterns yet; you kind of have to do this at the last minute around here if you don’t want yours to look like melted pumpkin monsters.


One morning the sun came back, and the days were warm again.


We hadn’t seen a break in the cloud for twelve million days, so it felt quite strange to see the world in color once more. Puts us all in a better mood.

I hadn’t even felt up to much artwork, but last Sunday I was puttering around and decided it was a good day to brighten up the steel flower Floyd made me a couple of birthdays ago. Hand me a can of spray paint and things are bound to happen.


I haven’t been walking around the neighborhood as much as I should, so I don’t have much of an array as far as Halloween decorations go. As I’ve told you, this is a very big deal in Austin and I imagine since Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year, a fair number of people will take the whole week off.

Blow-up figures are popular, of course. I like this guy who sort of looks like he’s on fire, in a fun kind of way.


Scary things really should be fun.


One yard that always wins the C’mas holiday lights contest was decked out as soon as October hit the calendar.


All the people who are afraid of clowns must really love walking by a collection of zombie Frankenstein clown skulls.

In the real world of scary things, one morning I turned around at my work table and saw a creature I had never seen before, parked (permanently, as it turned out) in that very intimidating cactus that makes such lovely pink flowers in spring.


Who needs a fictional monster when there are longhorn beetles in the world?

On the other side of the house, placed perhaps for the sake of balance, I found a tiny plant with flowers less than a dime across. Who thinks of such a thing?


And a few yards away, succulents are doing well in a chiminea I rescued from the curb one bulk pick-up week.


Marco and Lucy, having gone a bit out of their kitty minds with all that rain, are so glad to be outdoors again they can’t help rushing up the big live oak to for sure this time catch a squirrel. Marco is the essence of Halloween cat, although he finds it hard to believe that cats like himself have been considered bad luck by superstitious people. He himself is so shy it took him hours to re-appear last weekend when we had the kids and grandkids over for lunch. Despite his decidedly intimidating appearance, Marco’s afraid of everything.

Here he is sitting on the roof of the owl house:


Meanwhile, Lucy was looking very picturesque on her high perch. I’m pretty sure she was thinking that squirrel would be back any minute – just as last week she was sure it would not be raining any more, even on her twentieth trip out the back door. Lucy is a born optimist, a frame of mind I have only read about in books.


I haven’t been painting so much as I’ve been playing with paint. Yesterday an old board I use for projects spoke to me and said, do something playful. I’m after the ever elusive perfect abstract iris, I guess.


I just love playing with paint.


This afternoon I even went after some resin art, which I’ll show you next time if anything turns out worthwhile. I’m glad to feel like playing again, which these days only happens when I force myself to turn away from the news.

The purest joy at this time of year comes from the fact that the butterfly garden is absolutely alive with butterflies, who fly up like confetti thrown from the ground when you walk by. I can’t really capture the flutter, but I do try to get a few portraits of patient individuals.




Wings like stained glass, no?

Go find something that’s still beautiful. If we don’t start actively spreading beauty and kindness, I think we may be done for.


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