out of the rafters came the barn owl

"The breezes taste of apple peel. The air is full of smells to feel..." - John Updike

And barn owls, Mr. Updike. Don't forget about the barn owls, who swoop down into October, defining it.

Or steaming cups of coffee, which come into their own on October mornings, as if the rest of the year, those black sips are lent to us from the crisp tribe of days they more naturally inhabit.

While I was in San Fran for a wedding last month, I ended up at Sightglass coffee roastery with good intentions of using their warehouse + token coffee shop as a place to write.

The writing progress was not significant, but this picture of my Americano and Owl's Howl espresso blend spilling out of my bag ended up being the only serious photographic evidence of my trip.

Which made me realize something. Something that I knew, but this was the Exhibit A - Z that sealed it: San Francisco and I - years have not stirred up my fondness for a spark that went cold and grey. No. That place. It's all hills and food and diversions. A veneer of sites I've already taken a million pictures of, only now, along with the endless wind, there's the alarming smell stagnation.

Yet when I got home and had October rising in my backyard, I was so pleased to have this brown paper bag with an owl on its tag, filled with decadent beans to grind and savor. A souvenir of where I'd been, of what season was ahead.

There's something to be said for the pleasure of noticing age; of feeling the sharp drop in temp following day after day when the fluctuations smoothed out over each other like endless pavement. Where coffee matters beyond its single varietal notes and you need its warming; need its native company as you get grounded and watch the leaves flush their sugar; burn for a vibrant flash. Of being able to settle into a turning that asks for more gratitude than enjoyment, where owls brave the night instead of children, and their song marks the ushering in of wisdom.

"everything sings and dies,
but it could be, too,
everything dies and sings."
-Galway Kinnell

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