Finally, we are at the 10th month of the year. This year has been unbearably long and October means we are in the last quarter. There’s a lot to do before our year is over and there is a certain excitement brewing in Palmer. First of all we have the local election. And the full moon. And Oxtoberfest. Then we have markets, farm parties and fund raisers galore. Typically this is also the time that we receive our PFD checks, however this hoopla will not happen because PFD money was dispersed early. (Some of us, overwhelmed by the Corona Chaos, even forgot to apply for the PFD’s, so we were out of the game before it started.) We have traditional Alaska Day celebration and the Blessing of the Animals this month. We say goodbye to daylight savings time and hello to pre-holiday bazaars. And at the end of October comes the big Halloween celebrations followed by the holy days of memorial.
Melancholy—Autumn feels so bittersweet when the leaves scatter and fill the driveways and trails. The leaves look like soggy cornflakes and the darkness is returning. But there are some great reveals as well. Our view-sheds expand! Without all the foliage and leafed-out trees we can see the ridge-lines and mountainsides better. We can appreciate the structures of our friends the trees. We can see their skeleton fingers reaching up to the sky. Our stars are back along with a few planets. The moon takes precedence now. If it’s difficult sometimes to stay positive amidst the political chaos and turmoil, then we need to look to nature for our joy and peace.
Princess Bride in Hayfields—It’s an interesting concept on Saturday night. ChangePoint Mat Su is featuring a movie at a farm where you bring your own snacks, chair and blanket. Next week it is Hocus Pocus movie at the Alaska state fair grounds.
Animal Blessing Time—This is the great time of year where our big and small animals are blessed. This world-wide tradition is old and ceremonial and relates to the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of Animals. The blessing is to honor animals for their service, their companionship, either pets or agricultural animals. Usually St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal church of Palmer has a service, which is a delightful gathering of people, hamsters, chickens, horses, dogs, cats, and goats. Even if there isn’t an official service, make sure you honor your animals for their unending gifts of devotion and sustenance.
Leaves’ Purpose—When trees relieve themselves of leaves, the tumble gathers and swirls around and eventually adds organics to our top level soil. No doubt there is much science behind the evolution of leaves. Leaf watching this past week has been mesmerizing. Many leaf collectors have been on the trails and in the fields and woods. Reminder: it remains auspicious to have a solitary leaf fall on your head. This is the time of year when devoted summer lovers attach just a few of the leaves to the tree with thread or string.
Stuff to Do—It might be uncomfortable but it is time to remind everyone of those final seasonal chores that must be done before winter arrives. The most important tasks includes disconnecting the hoses; checking the heat sources; preparing the vehicle for winter; and putting away all those wayward summer tools and things. Once these things are done, then you can look forward to a guilt-free hibernation.
Barbara Hunt is both Palmer writer and artist. She works hard to keep the robust pulse of Palmer, Alaska. She shares the good stuff in the weekly Palmer Alaska Buzz Column in the Mat Su Valley Frontiersman and daily on the Palmer Alaska Buzz Facebook Group. Her “Palmer Buzz Community Calendar” is available at Palmer shops and museum. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or text 907.315.3222