October is here and it’s bringing with it all the colors — the golds and reds and browns — of a season that doesn’t stay long enough.
And it will leave a trail of frost in its wake.
I’ll find it in the mornings, sparkling and shimmering on the railing of my deck, on the cracked windshield of the pickup, on the leftover leaves and acorns on the trails, on the stems of the grass and the crust of the dirt.
I’m digging out my sweaters again. Funny how it’s only been a few months since I packed them away but I can’t seem to remember where they went.
Funny how it’s only been a few weeks since the sun touched my legs and already my skin is fading into its pale winter shade.
Soon I’ll run my hands over the horses’ backs and notice they’re changing too, long scruffy hair growing in to protect them from the promised winter winds.
We all become the season it seems.
And soon I’ll be sipping tea and zipping the kids into their puffy coats and searching endlessly for lost mittens and warming up the car before we go out into the world. We are North Dakota. Personified in the permanent chilled flush in our cheeks, rolling up the hoses and packing away the cutoff shorts. Swapping cowboy boots for winter boots and straw hats for the knits that covers our ears.
If I were California, I would never change. If I were California, I would wear summer dresses all year and never be ashamed of my scaly winter skin. I would eat orange Popsicles and sip iced tea and put fresh flowers in a vase on my table every week. I would be sun-kissed and golden and I wouldn’t wear socks.
Especially not wool socks.
If I were California, would I even talk about the weather? What is there to say?
But I am North Dakota, and my flowers have dried up now.
Soon the ice will rest lightly on the water in the stock tank and the air will bite and the trees will strip down to sleep. And then I’ll be cutting potatoes for soup, boiling water and feeling weighed down but hungry the way only Northerners can feel.
If I were a beast, I would hibernate.
If I had wings, I would fly toward the sun.
If I had superpowers, I would find a way to summon the rain and the snow to come on now. Soak into this dry earth and cool us down. Never has a change of season been more welcome.
Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband and daughters on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. She blogs at https://veederranch.com. Readers can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.