As I See It –Column 48




There’s something in October

Sets my gypsy blood astir

I must rise and follow her

As from every hill of flame

She calls and calls each vagabond by name.


The scarlet of the maples

Can shake me like the cry

Of bugles going by

And my lonely spirits thrills

To see the frosty asters

Like a smoke upon the hill.


These lines from Bliss Carmen’s poem Vagabond Song given here from memory may be inexactly quoted. But a drive into Connecticut this weekend dipped them up from my memory pool and made them as live and real to me as as they were the first time I read them.


The maples are turning scarlet! And the cry of bugles - and trumpets - at the Yale Rutgers football game brought the metaphor of these lines to vibrant life for me.


The experience has an unexpected and humorous turn, more humorous in retrospect than in the experiencing. We were more vagabondish that we wished. What happened is a commentary on the current nostalgia for country fairs and the breathing of fresh, clean air. Because of the Danbury Fair, in part, every motel, hotel, motor inn and tourist home within 50 miles of Danbury was filled - not a bed to be had - a fact we finally accepted after six or seven attempts as we spiraled out from that center over narrow, winding, woodsy roads in the black of a crescent-moon night.


There was a certain pleasure in it, We were circling Niel’s hometown where we had intended to spend the night, and I enjoyed Neil's evident pleasure in recognizing, even in the dark, landmarks with  boyhood memories for him - the Housatonic, the old Osborn place, the reservoir, the Red House, the old Sanford School, Poverty Hollow Road renamed Pleasant Valley Road by the recent comers from the city.


But the day, the glorious October day! 

Fresh, cool air gently stirring,

Blue sky saved up all year for this one month,

Great drifting white clouds,

Red of Virginia creeper on fences and tree trunks,

Gold of willow,

First bronzing of oak,

The great bowl with the rich moving paisley of sweaters and jackets,

Warm sun, excitement and tension all around,

The hush as if every one of 20,000 was readying for the kick,

The crowd rising with their voices for a score.

Open and free and possessed by the moment.



All of this in one day, taken and enjoyed as it came. There’s something in October if you rise and follow her!


P. S. We found a bed right here on Cecilia Place.


P. P. S. Yale lost by one point.