Monday, October 23, 2006


For baseball fans, October is the World Series. But it's also the month when the winds turn cold and trees begin to lose their leaves (or so I recall from my days in Virginia and Missouri and Texas).

James Carroll sees in October a reminder of our mortality: "In October, a feeling for the end of things imposes itself on normalcy. Foliage flags the passage of time, a rude interruption of the dominant assumption that life goes on forever." The reminder we get each October, Carroll suggests, could explain why this month has often been a time of reckoning and a time of turning toward peace:

When we humans are in touch with the common fate that awaits us all, the bond among us becomes unbreakable. Not only that each one of us will die, but also that each one knows it. That knowledge, once claimed, is the source of our inevitable compassion, and is the ground of the communion that is our species' natural condition. War, therefore, is not the normal state, but the aberration. On that bond of common fate and common knowledge rests every hope for peace.

Carroll's complete rumination on the meaning of the month is available here.