Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

October ~ Autumn 1891


Someone might think it's strange to be reflecting on a painting titled: October ~ Autumn, while we're awaiting signs of Spring. But the seasons have a message for us always.

October, the tenth month of the year, is synonymous with Autumn and the harvest time. We speak of the October Harvest Moon. Apples are in season and late-season grapes are finally ready for harvesting.

October is a season for seed-sowing. The wildflowers have formed their seeds which will drop or be blown away to hunker into the ground through the winter. Notice the farmer's fallow field on the far right. Perhaps he will plant a green-crop to hold the soil in place through the winter to be turned under in the Spring for fertilizer.

October is the month for planting bulbs: tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and crocuses. October is a good time to transplant a tree, giving it some weeks to settle in before the frost takes hold. Calves, fawns and cubs conceived in the autumn will be born in the spring.

October also holds great spiritual energies, culminating in All Hallow's Eve. It is the month when the world's history changed: on October 31, 1571, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenburg, challenging the Church to purify itself of abuses and to re-discover the Word of God. Martin Luther said, "My conscience is captive to the Word of God." 

I was pastor to a church which was built just a few yards away from an inlet. One early October morning, as I walked from the rectory to the church for Mass, a flock of honking geese in V formation flew so low over my head I could hear the whirring of their wings. 

October ~ Autumn is a season of nature-activity and possibilities:
  • the setting of buds,
  • decaying leaves nourishing the ground,
  • the planting of seeds and bulbs,
  • the conceiving of animals,
  • the harvesting of fruit and late-season vegetables,
  • a single priest retrieving the Word of God ~ inviting the    Church to reflection and honesty.
October is talking to us - inviting us! Levitan understands.


  1. You are teaching us to appreciate all things in nature beyond the obvious things of beauty. I am learning so much from this and am taking the time to use the landscapes to find some path towards inner growth.

    1. Docility means "I want to learn; teach me." Blessed Lent!

  2. Autumn is my favorite time of the year for all the promises of new beginnings to come. The air is clean and crisp as the earth prepares herself for a long rest. It's a natural and comfortable flow.

    1. We're fortunate when we live where there are four distinct seasons.

  3. There is a small house faintly visible in the background. What joy to live in this beautiful setting. Levitan reminding us of our place in this world. I am just witnessing the fruits of my Fall labor poking up from the ground. A great delight to look forward to in my small garden in the suburbs.

  4. Indeed - a garden can be a window box. In Ireland and England many people in the suburbs cultivate gardens in very small frontyards or backyards. It's not uncommon at all for Irish home-gardeners to have what they call a "glasshouse" because that's the only way you can grow a tomato, pepper or eggplant.