|George Buster Singleton|
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “October: The month of change” was originally published in the Oct. 9, 1986 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)
As the early days of October come forward and the fading days of September disappear from the horizon, change fills the air. The hot sulky dog days that began during the last of July have faded in oblivion. And on the evening winds, the touch of autumn blows across the hills.
October is a time for change, just as the old Indian legends describe it to be. The murky days of hot and sticky weather are giving way to cooler temperatures, and the pace of life begins to wind down, just as an exhausted runner does after a long and tiresome journey. A time of adjustment comes upon us as our bodies begin to lose the tension that has been with us during the hot summer months.
The urge to travel is ever present as the evening winds whisper in the pine needles, and the thoughts of distant places play tricks on the minds of those with wanderlust. The thoughts of adventure become stronger, and the feel of restlessness stirs through the passages of the mind, as the distant hills call silently to that part of you that is yet primitive and will always remain so.
The blood of the vagabond rushes through the veins as though it wants to release itself and climb upon the winds, never to return. And in the distance, the thoughts of approaching autumn add to the impatience, and memories of the changing colors slowly creeping across the faces of the evening make one know that the time of change is at hand.
Then, as the cool evening air slips steadily down from the north, the thoughts of burning wood and the smell of evening campfires play havoc with the imagination. The desire to search for high places becomes an obsession, and your eyes scan the evening sunsets for the flocks of wild geese that are so vivid in your memory.
And you wait and listen for the first faint sounds of the leaves, as they flutter down through the branches to their final resting places there on the ground.
For behind are the hot sticky days that have been so uncomfortable, and ahead are the changing days of Indian summer. Then, as one looks further, the cold chilly days of winter loom far on the edges of the horizon.
October is truly a time for change, a time for adjustment, a time for the evaluation of one’s thoughts, and a time for making plans. And, too, it is a time for making peace with oneself.
October is the month for all these things, and, above all, it is a time to seek out the high places – places where one can be alone and reach for the sky. A place where one can reach up and touch the heavens, and pray to the Great Spirit, as man once did, asking for the help that he knew was needed for the days ahead.
“O Great Spirit that holds all life in one hand
And the warm sun in the other,
Reach down and touch my soul,
And give the strength that I may run
With the swiftness of the deer
And I may have the strength of the giant oak tree
That grows beside the rippling waters.
Give me the wisdom, that I might seek food
And shelter from the cold winter winds
That howl down from the north.
Guide my hands, that I use only
That which I need, and that I walk
Straight and true toward the sunset.
As I grow old from the passing of many winters,
Let me look into the dawn of that great day
When I will rest forever
By the waters that give Eternal Life,
And where the air is pure
And the sky is forever blue.”
(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)