October’s Bright Blue Weather

When I was in junior high school, “morning announcements” were broadcast to homeroom classes over the P.A. (public address system or intercom), as I believe is still true (at least in U.S. public schools). The announcements were made, however, not by students, as I believe is common nowadays, but by the assistant principal, a man who was not well liked (because he was also in charge of “discipline,” he was regarded more as an adversary than a friend).

Even though I can now acknowledge that we were at an age when no adult can do anything right, some of his actions still seem cringeworthy, as when, on St. Patrick’s Day, he would begin the announcements by intoning, with careful enunciation suggesting anything but an Irish accent, “Top o’ the mornin’ to ye,” giving “ye” the full benefit of a long vowel (as in “ye olde”).

But the groaning really started when, on some beautiful day in October, he would read us the poem “October’s Bright Blue Weather.” I’ve long since forgotten any of the verses of this poem, but the refrain “October’s bright blue weather” is seared in my brain and comes unbidden on such a day as today.

After torrential rain all day last Thursday and a couple of days of overcast lasting well into midday, yesterday morning and today have dawned cloudless, with a sky that, by the time I went out for my walk, was a brilliant robin’s egg blue (I suppose it would be more apt and accurate to describe it as “cerulean blue,” but that seems self-referential). It is the sort of day that makes one glad to be alive and out of doors (despite the chill and quite a stiff breeze), and I can’t help agreeing with Helen Hunt Jackson:

O SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
     And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
     October’s bright blue weather;

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