Once Upon An October

Once Upon an October. We all have deep memories of October, no matter where we are in the world. Here are some of my shares from this month.

We left San Francisco on an early October morning with Cassidy’s nearly elderly Siberian Husky.

Cassidy said it best this week – “12 years ago I left my home in the Haight with wife and husky and we left the Promised Land. Not gonna lie, I cried all the way to the Bay Bridge, and that was it. Never looked back. 13 awesome years….got out at just the right time for us. Last 12 years have been nonstop magic and the 13 before that…attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.”

Crossing the USA Zion National Park

And you know what? Stormy could close the door on command. It was super amazing for those lazy nights, and also an apartment that was nearly 100% heated and cooled by an open door, or lack thereof. We had a space heater we had to use a few times a year, or maybe more, but imagine those energy bills without heat or a/c. It was just bay breezes and strong sun. Warm blankets on even those October nights, although October in San Francisco is like their summer.

Whereas July nights can chill you to your core.

That’s how it is here. We arrived on the east coast in mid-October, 2008, and already had our little road trip “souvenir.” Scarlet. We returned to California a year later, perhaps to the day, with our near three-month-old. We were traveling for a wedding, but so much had changed in that year (for us). All of the delights of San Francisco seemed pretty unchanged. That time. The same wonderful people worked at the same wonderful locations, and we ate our weight (plus, I was nursing like crazy) in amazing foods we had missed so much. It wasn’t an east coast October, but it was powerful to experience both in one sitting. To have our orange glow here, but to get to travel there for a week of bliss. It was picture-perfect, preserved in love and October magic.

Squat and Gobble San Francisco

A year after that, we returned again, for yet another wedding. We got there in early September, but the trip stretched into early October and its magic. Even out there. In previous years, I had fallen in love with California’s giant pumpkins and the smoky crisp smell of Yosemite’s trees. The shooting stars that dazzled overhead. This 2010 trip had none of the magic of the one in 2009. I had raging anxiety, and we had lost a few loved ones in California who had been alive and well during our first return trip. Probably, October’s magic catches you in the breath and the heart anyway, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we didn’t return to California until 2019, just the two of us. And 2019 was more like 2009’s trip – everything was glistening, swirling magic.

If life all happens all at once, and there is no real concept of time, like many people say, there are so many swirls of October orange and brown in the colorful gaseous chaos of life. Even one life.

Once Upon an October. We all have deep memories of October, no matter where we are in the world. Here are some of my shares from this month.

These days, Lucy doesn’t know how to close the door. Yet. We still like to keep the temperature regulated by an open back door, and maybe a window open on the other side of the house for a cross-breeze. It doesn’t work as well in New England as it does in California, as the pellet stove burns through most of fall and winter, and sometimes even spring. The humidity also rages on, with its cloying grip on spring and summer, and sometimes even an unlucky October day. This to me, is nearly unacceptable. You come to depend on things – like October being crisp and blue and green and orange. You need the color while you wait, for house additions to be built.

And for babies to be born, or even made.

climbing trees

We moved to our house in October, two renovations ago, and right before a freak blizzard that canceled Halloween, but maybe not as effectively as COVID 19 might. We made two children in October, even though we didn’t know we were doing so both times. I think that’s October’s magic for you. It stretches from frosted dazzling pumpkins, to light as far as the eye can see. And I know I’m not writing anything in chronological order anymore, but that’s because of the oranges and the greens and the browns and the blues in the swirling gaseous chaos ball of life.

Once Upon an October. We all have deep memories of October, no matter where we are in the world. Here are some of my shares from this month.

I’ve never welcomed a child in October, but I’m about to do so (thankfully it wasn’t in September like I feared might happen) and I feel him turning and changing and stretching, with the wind in the leaves. Sometimes it’s frantic and sometimes with a soothing calmness I never expected.

Another October to remember. In the swirling chaos of life, some parts are brighter blurs of orange; more dazzling displays of meteors over Yosemite. They’re not necessarily more or less of your story or more or less important. Some parts make themselves more known at a given time.

little girl playing saxophone

This year, I have welcomed the coolness, and the way it can make you tie itchy scarves around your neck. Only to match itchy masks around your face. Anything to get rid of the third trimester heat and humidity horrors, which is such a relief to get rid of this year. It’s a balm to soothe the soul and the body, in a way that only October can provide – like a cup of pumpkin ice cream, and pulling those warm sheets and warm hands and arms more firmly around yourself.

Once Upon an October. We all have deep memories of October, no matter where we are in the world. Here are some of my shares from this month.

This October brought with it a destructive and fast storm, and scattered power outages and emotions. We hunkered together, under both the real life and the offered rations of love and support, shelter and warmth, WiFi and mac and cheese. Of course we always know it can be worse, but that doesn’t mean we cannot react to the figurative and literal storms that ache our bones and take away our basic comforts. In October, it’s never so, so bad. Never too, too bad.

To not be able to pick out the brightest colors, warmest light, and most dazzling meteors.


Similar Posts


  1. October, so far, has been good to me. Because I’m doing my workout cool downs by going for walks I’ve been able to really get outside and see all the colors, which are STUNNING right now in WI.

    I also can’t believe that you’re going to have a little baby this month. I’m so excited for you!

  2. October, this year, is exactly how one would imagine in the year 2020 – my husband ended up having two eye surgeries this past month so far. He first had so tears on his retina. So, he had laser surgery for that. We thought that was healing. But then he ended up having that same retina detach apparently. So, he ended up having another surgery much more invasive this time this past Wednesday. He is now recovering and will be for the next 2-4 week at least. He’s out of work on disability during this recovery period. So, only in 2020! But your October sounds quite magical and we need some good news now. So, cannot wait to hear your little guy has been born. Hugs <3

    1. So sorry to hear about your husband, Janine. Another friend had the same thing happen this year. It took awhile for it all to heal, but he is doing well now, so be encouraged!

  3. Wow, I totally agree about October. My two babies were born in this month and that has added to its magic for me 🙂 I’m so excited for you! Love these photos of Scarlet. I can’t believe how grown up she’s getting. Gorgeous girl. OMG, the video of Stormy is so adorable and that music!! So perfect. Have a great weekend, Tamara. Thinking of you.

  4. I remember that day that I saw a flower shop truck pass me by with yellow and orange flowers painted on it. I told you that I knew October would bring a baby. He will have a birthday that is in the prime of New England’s autumn. He is the first October birthday in our extended family. And it’s about time!

  5. October is a magical month here in the northeast, right? The colors astound every year, and the crisp air does energize. I happen to be a summer girl, but Octobers around here are pretty terrific. Now February, that is another thing. Can’t wait to hear about the baby – you are so close!

  6. These October memories from you and Cassidy truly are very special. Through the years this has been a month of major changes for both of you, and this year we are blessed to be supporting you through this next one which is really feeling ever so closer by the day! Lucy won’t be closing any doors this month. She knows that so many new doors have opened for you and your family in October, and the next door is opening to a new and precious life. “Lucy Won’t Be Fooled Again.”🎶

  7. We have that Yoda! Best addition to our decorating world ever. He is bigger than Anneliese.

    Happy October. This summer and spring were bad, but October has felt somehow a little overwhelming and yet also, magical. I am excited for your newest addition. The world needs more squishy baby pictures!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.