Ah, October! This is the month of wings and wheels, as classic cars cruise alongside migrating Monarch butterflies, hummingbirds and dragonflies. Buzzz-zip!
Diamond-luster waterways and scented pineywoods stake their visual claims. Sunsets rival the hues of autumnal leaves. The last of our persimmons ripen a deep orange. Green satsumas and kumquats turn yellow. Black-eyed Susans and golden rod wave their yellow hair along roadsides. Colors reign. Wow!
The summer blast furnace is shut down until next year. Whew!
The military in their thick uniforms and camouflage find respite from the cooler temps, as does most everyone else who visits or calls the Mississippi Gulf Coast home.
Lawn mowers impatiently await their chance to chomp on grass that's quit growing.
Chrysanthemums bloom on store shelves, dining tables and in gardens, their fall colors affirming this is a coastal October even if the evergreen leaves of trees and shrubs refuse to budge. Acorns ping off roofs of cars and houses and the occasional heads. Plunk! Thunk!
Mullet jump for joy. Seines sail off the piers of the Mississippi Sound and bays. White shrimp begin replacing their brownie cousins in seafood markets. Crabs are fat. Sea beans and Crucifix fish litter our beaches. Mud lumps dot riverbanks. The call of the sea is as strong as ever as boat motors rev and reels spin. Zzzzzzz.
Party boats ply the rivers and bayous. Fish camp denizens become livelier. Museums, towns, schools and churches tout their fall festivals. Football practice is less sweaty and playground noise more lively. Newly created bicycle lanes beckon in these cooler temperatures, as do walking and running trails. Weeeee!
Political yard signs and billboards turn our heads. Another whew!
Horses and squirrels turn friskier. Pet fur thickens. Alligators get sluggish. Mississippi's wild turkeys turn on their skittish cunning as hunters clean their guns. Bugs of all sorts disappear into hidey-holes.
Tans begin to fade as fewer locals and tourists sunbathe on the Coast's crystal white sand. The skies are bluer, the clouds whiter, the water clearer. Glorious!
October is the best of autumn on the seemingly seasonless Mississippi Gulf Coast. Enjoy!
Kat Bergeron, a veteran feature writer specializing in Gulf Coast history and sense of place, is retired from the Sun Herald. She writes the Coast Chronicles column as a freelance correspondent. Reach her at BergeronKat@gmail.com or c/o Sun Herald Newsroom, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi MS 39535-4567.