It is a gorgeous fall day here in Prince Edward Island on this first day of October. Our autumns usually begin about the third week of August, which makes for a heart-breakingly short summer for Islanders–and for visitors from around the world who want to see our fair province, the Land of Anne, the Garden of the Gulf, Birthplace of Confederation, Epekwitk, a land cradled in the waves, Abegweit, land of the red soil.
It’s true, we do have brilliant summers. But if you can account for some dynamic weather, the autumnal hues, quiet shops, and cool nights make PEI a great fall destination. Often enough, we have a garden-gate summer in September, with a week or so of warm temperatures and white-cloudy blue skies, occasionally interrupted by a bright sun shower. And Octobers! With apples ready for picking and leaves bursting into flame-light, an October drive down our red-clay roads or hike in our creek-side trails is a brilliant experience.
It is no wonder that Anne Shirley, alive with wonder at the beauty and love of her newfound Green Gables home, cannot help but leave us with an exclamation for the ages:
October was a beautiful month at Green Gables, when the birches in the hollow turned as golden as sunshine and the maples behind the orchard were royal crimson and the wild cherry trees along the lane put on the loveliest shades of dark red and bronzy green, while the fields sunned themselves in aftermaths.
Anne revelled in the world of colour about her.
“Oh, Marilla,” she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with her arms full of gorgeous boughs, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it? Look at these maple branches. Don’t they give you a thrill—several thrills? I’m going to decorate my room with them.”
“Messy things,” said Marilla, whose aesthetic sense was not noticeably developed. “You clutter up your room entirely too much with out-of-doors stuff, Anne. Bedrooms were made to sleep in.”
“Oh, and dream in too, Marilla. And you know one can dream so much better in a room where there are pretty things. I’m going to put these boughs in the old blue jug and set them on my table” (Anne of Green Gables, ch. 16).
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers,” Anne cries out, thrilled with her world. I am glad too, and wanted to wish you the best this month, dear reader.
And in doing so, I thought I would invite you to visit Benjamin Lefebvre’s blog post, “Happy October from L.M. Montgomery!” Ben fills out Anne’s declaration with a youthful note from Montgomery the newspaperwoman a few years before Anne found her to the page. This is also an excuse to introduce Anne lovers and Montgomery fans to Ben’s work as a curator of Montgomery’s work and legacy. His L.M. Montgomery Online website is an unusually complete bibliographic resource for Montgomery studies. Among other resources, he includes biographical links as well as an invitation to the L.M. Montgomery Readathon (which I referenced in my Emily of New Moon Round Table post and you can find on Facebook). Among other projects, Ben is the editor of the three-volume L.M. Montgomery Reader and The L.M. Montgomery Library, which includes, thus far a poetry collection (A World of Songs), the nonfiction collection A Name for Herself referenced in his October blog, and an upcoming story collection.
I hope you enjoy Ben’s work, including the lovely autumn Anne photo above.
To read further, click here. You can find the L.M. Readathon here. Also, there are some other cool Montgomery resources, including the L.M. Montgomery Literary Society. They are much deeper than their Facebook page, but if you head there you can find a lovely September quotation from Emily Climbs, the novel we are reading in the Readathon right now.
I have enjoyed two of the major Anne film projects: the Kevin Sullivan Anne miniseries of the mid-1980s, starring Megan Follows (who I admit is still kind of “Anne” in my imagination), and the CBC-Netflix Anne With an E serial. So I am disappointed that I cannot recall this Anne quote on screen that I could share with you all (or on the two major stage projects, Anne of Green Gables: The Musical at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, or Anne & Gilbert at the Guild). Oh well, here is an opportunity for the next adaptation in the years ahead. Meanwhile, Happy October!
I agree – the different lengths of days and nights throughout the year had quite an impact when I first spent time in North West Europe after the Midwest in the US – but I am happy always to have had four seasons, with more or less time of changing leaves (in places where, unlike ‘Califronia Dreamer’, all the leaves are not brown!).
And thanks for the link – and to Benjamin Lefebvre for the post! Not unlike Cynthia, I am often intending to be more of a ‘morning person’ than I manage to be, and probably too often enjoyed the early morning after an undergrad ‘all-nighter’ than by getting up in time, back in the day. But I can happily be scheduled to get up, and singing in a choir where I have to travel 90 minutes for a 9:10 a.m. practice, has been giving me more morning beauty, lately.
Megan Follows is still “Anne” to me too.
Yes, me too! Though I do like what some audiobook readers, stage play performances, and screen adaptations have done to fill out the Anne world for me.
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