Borland on October

“October is the year at rich maturity, a happy woman arrayed in festival dress and ready for a dance with a giant come down from the hills attired in a red, red shirt, buckskin pants and moccasins beaded with frost. October is a brisk wind in the treetops, a whisper among crisp leaves, a breath of apple cider, a gleam from a jack-o’-lantern, and the echo of laughter under a full moon.

October is bright as a bittersweet berry. October has the high excitement of a hunting dog’s voice on the trail, the day-tang of walnut hulls and sumac berries, the night call of the owl and the bark of a restless fox. Geese honk high, in October, and ducks take off from the river in a shower of diamond drops, southward bound. The lawn mower’s put away for the season, the garden’s sere with frost, and firelight leaps on the hearth at evening. Cider begins to potentiate and the grape begins to find a heady reason for ripening.

The pumpkin’s in the pie, in October. The corn’s in the crib or the freezer. Pickling’s done and thoughts turn to mincemeat. October is plenty and savor and the hearty meal and time to relax. October is the year come to harvest, in the barn, in the mow, in the root cellar, the jam closet, the cold pantry.

October is the long evening and the book beside the fire. It is the blanket-covered night. It is the woodchuck fattening for a long nap, the fat partridge in the hemlock thicket, the deer eating windfalls in the orchard.

October is the power and the glory, to touch, to taste, to hear and to see. October is the splendor and the magnificence.”
–Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons, 1964.

**Snow geese photo courtesy of USFWS. Mule deer photo courtesy of**

14 thoughts on “Borland on October”

  1. After searching the local used book stores for the last few months, I finally found a copy of Sundial of the Seasons on ebay and it arrived last week! I just had to have my own copy.

  2. Susan: I won’t miss it much either. It so nice to sit out in the sun in the morning now, without the humidity.

    Pablo: He’s a favorite. I enjoy the way he sums up how things are in country places for each month of the year.

    Naturewoman: Glad you liked it.

    Lynne: Had you heard of Borland before? I had to hunt down my copy of Sundial of the Seasons also. Such a nice book and a part of each of my days.

    Tim: Isn’t he?

    Fiona Bun: I saw. How many on your list now? 😉

    Sandy: I’m not sure where Borland wrote these from, but sometimes he seems *ahead* for me – maybe he is more in tune with Maine?

  3. YOU introduced me to Hal Borland! Now whenever I pick up the book, I am reminded of your encouragement and kindness in this blogging community. Thank you kindly! 🙂

  4. Lynne: Oh! Cool. Are you reading an entry a day? 😉

    silverlight: Borland is one of my favorites and find he always has something to say that rings true to me.

  5. So nice to see appreciation for Hal Borland in the blogosphere. All the bigshot nature writing critics act like he never existed.

  6. Dave: Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Another member of the Borland fan club….. I wonder why it is that Borland isn’t more well known. It is near impossible to find him in bookstores or libraries – other than “When the Legends Die” and “The Dog Who Came to Stay” – neither of which is representative of his writing at all, in my opinion. I’m always interested to hear how people find him.

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