SMITH COLUMN: Enjoying October and all the joys it brings

Published 9:30 am Friday, September 30, 2022

As one gets older, there is the reality that the seasons are to be savored with the acute awareness that you don’t know how many of the good things you treasure the most in your life, remain.

I am always mindful of how extraordinaire our tenth month is and that you never know how many Octobers you have left. However, it is best not to spoil the enjoyment of the fall season by waxing about life’s inevitable. 

When October comes around, you find yourself immersed into thanksgiving, underscoring the options that are available. It begins with gratifying temperatures. This is the month when we move into the most comfortable of times.  We happily emerge from summer’s heat which often lingers, in some years, deep into September.

You arise in the morning, fix a cup of coffee, and watch the world awaken. The deer, which use our yard as a thoroughfare to a lake behind the houses on the other side of the street, seem to be proliferating. Not a bother. Their presence is uplifting, a reminder that wildlife makes you appreciate nature and its values. 

Deer are not often given to being destructive. Deer are not violent. Deer are not a menace especially when compared to wild hogs, armadillos and coyotes. When I was growing up in Middle Georgia, I never knew that deer were once plentiful in the northern counties of our state. 

A restocking plan was begun in 1928 and lasted until the 90s and now they are everywhere. Deer in our state were killed off in the late 1800s by overhunting, which was enhanced by hunting with dogs and night hunting with torchlights. Glad we got rid of those deer hunting tactics.

October brings about trout fishing on the Chattahoochee. What a glorious experience it is to trout fish the cool waters of Georgia’s most romantic river in the fall amid a backdrop of autumnal color. You cast your fly into the swirling waters of the river and watch it float downstream. Suddenly, the line becomes taut, and you are simply overwhelmed as a three-pound trout does its best not to yield.

Soon, it is in the net. It makes you feel good that the beautiful rainbow is panting as much as you are. This is an experience that all Georgians can enjoy although few take advantage of the opportunity. Trout fishing the rivers and streams of North Georgia is one of the rich experiences a native can enjoy. Like quail hunting which gets underway in some places in October.

October is a time for the fall harvest. Although the harvest moon peaked in September, the fall harvest is still taking place and we can still sing my favorite song of the fall, “Shine on Harvest Moon.”

We start getting ready for the Thanksgiving season in October. There is nothing not to like about October. Riding through the countryside and seeing the handiwork of farmers and those in agribusiness gives a lift to the spirits.

Just seeing a field with rolled up hay bales heightens my emotions to the fullest. I remain fascinated with rural scenes, especially when the centerpiece is a red barn.

Red barns can be found across the country. Saw a couple in Maine this summer and have seen them on farms in the Midwest, and, of course, throughout the South.

While I haven’t been there lately, my favorite red barn is in Tiger, Georgia where Tiger Mountain Vineyards runs a first-class restaurant. Good food, good wine, and good times — the last of those is not on the menu but comes as a bonus if you go there.

All over the upper section of our state, you will find streams and rivers almost everywhere. 

Nothing like walking near a mountain stream in the fall. It is easy to become smitten by the sounds from water rushing over rocks. The sounds view of a picturesque river speak to one’s soul.

Late October is a high time in our state as the turning of the leaves begins to peak.  

Fall color in Georgia is very good and unlike Vermont and the Rocky Mountain states, you can get there in less than a half day, but it would be worth it if that were required. Georgia will always be on my mind, but especially during the month of October.

Although it is not insurmountable, the only negative about October is that at the end of the month, a lot of us will have to start wearing socks again.