I've always wondered why October, which is obviously supposed to be the eighth (octo means eight) month of the year, is now the tenth month of the year? I know two months were added to the calendar at some point, but most people who have passing acquaintance with such things think it has something to do with Julian to Gregorian calendar conversions. Nope. Blame Numa. He changed the calendar of Romulus where Winter had no months, and the year started with the Vernal or Spring Equinox. The following explanation is from Wikipedia:
Numa Pompilius, the second of the seven traditional kings of Rome, reformed the calendar of Romulus by prefixing January and February around 713 BC to the original ten months; thus the names of Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November and December (implying fifth through tenth) no longer agreed with their position in his calendar.
Although Numa wanted to have a year of 354 days, Romans considered odd numbers to be lucky, so Numa added 51 days to the 304 days in the calendar of Romulus and took one day from each of the six 30-day months giving a total of 57 days to share between January and February. January was given 29 days leaving February with the unlucky number of 28 days, suitable for the month of purification. Of the eleven months with an odd number of days, four had 31 days each and seven had 29 days each.
Provisioning used to be the focus for everyone in the Northern Hemisphere at this time of year that falls between the Harvest and Hunter's Moons. Even when I was a child on a farm in Indiana we were focused on canning or preserving the last bit of the garden, culling the old hens and replacing them in the chicken coops with pullets who had been free-ranging up until that time. Dad and my brothers were busy harvesting out in the fields. Wardrobe was assessed with fit and wear-and-tear determining what needed to be replaced when the crops were sold. Preparations for hunting season were made. Winterizing the house with storm windows and closing up the window wells into the cellar except for the shoot for filling the “coal bin” with wood or coal, and of course checking out the furnace to make sure it was functioning properly. October was a month of intense work. Halloween was not a big deal back then. We had other stuff to do. How times have changed for most of the population. At the time I had no idea that I was one of the last people to live on what was essentially the last of the small family farms that were more akin to the 19th Century than 20th.
October makes me think, and I suspect I'm not the only one who feels this way. The long stretched rays of late afternoon sunlight really does have a different feel about it. The golden glow is beautiful but somehow melancholy. Dormancy and the dying back of plants is a reminder of the passing of time and the cycle of life. Seasonal Affective Disorder can steer a person toward depression biologically and the approaching Holidays for some can be a reminder of people who are no longer in their lives. I know that I will have thoughts aligning themselves in new ways and that there will be massive amounts of inspiration for writing. I can settle into absolute funks this time of year, but with a new puppy in the house to keep me busy,I don't think I will have time for any moping, but I will have time for snippets of writing between puppy tasks, so it should lend itself to blogging and other well bounded writing tasks.