The older we get, the more we like the middle seasons. Summer is too much 'in your face' - a hamburger in comparison to the nouvelle cuisine of spring or autumn.
And of the 2 middle seasons, autumn is mostly for gourmets.
One by one, all the guests and holiday renters and day trippers and tourists are saying goodbye - and we are going to have the valley again to ourselves. No feeling is more lovely and luxurious. The soft weather, the sunbeams of gold, the incredible play of shade and light - suddenly we pick up on it.
With a now pleasant sun and warmth, instead of the knock-out effect of the summer heat, it's the time of city trips to Seville or Cordoba, it's the time of enjoying long, slow hikes in the hills, a slow and impromptu exploration of a nearby village, the ideal time for property viewings, the tranquil chatter on terraces and the waiters and cooks again having time...
Just seize the day and decide to drive in any direction, whether it's to follow a rio, hike up or around a mountain, to get a feel for the birth region of Seneca, the Roman Emperors Hadrian and Trajan (southern Iberians, of course), or García Lorca for that matter, or the composers Manuel de Falla or Paco de Lucía... or... or... Andalucía is one big cultural treasure chest.
And october - the loungy after-party - is everyone's favourite season. It's got 'duende'.
A pleasure for the eyes
"You've got watches, we've got time".
October is - art. The time, tranquillity and space to actually pick up on that formidable geometry and feel for design that is all around us.
It's but one of the remaining treasures of the Moorish era, this heightened sense for the importance of geometry, not just in some museum but everywhere and for everyone. Long before we humans learned to read, we 'read' skies, the ambiance around a cave, the position of leaves and the patterns in nature - which is the reason why geometry or the trickling water of a fountain can have such a soothing effect on us: it's literature avant-la-lettre.
We're no longer studying life, but letting it study us, the still life of the Andalusian earth colours and the conjoint of the village houses with their brown and golden tiles, the shadows of the 'rejas' - all responsible for this glow of an 'indian summer' like quality. Many a small Andalusian village still projects this importance of the unity and the community: it's not one white house that projects an identity, but all of them together. It's not one golden coloured facade, but the web of them that make the evening light so special. Once again individuality-within-the-community, with the latter always being a tad more important than the first.
Hurray: there are none! That is: we all have our local favourite one, but there are no Musts. October is deliciously free of Musts. It is here to recover from all those months of Musts, all the socialising and hosting and running from barbecues to pool parties to national and regional holidays.
The sun will set a bit earlier every day, and then, then we will soon feel Halloween coming up.
(It goes without saying that Andalusians warmly embrace this new fiesta too: give it 15 more years and they might celebrate Chinese holidays: we are not seriously going to skip any chance to celebrate life and the community, do we?)
Check: none. Zip. Nada. Zero. (A digit that only found its way to Europe in the 12th century - via Andalucía, obviously).
Leave all that ado to other regions. The coast is but half an hour away anyway. We here in inland Málaga can't possibly imagine this, that you have to book and print tickets and drive half an hour and struggle with car parking and queues.. to get a little culture.
We live in living musea and living culture. History, culture, agriculture, architecture, a local museum, a Peña Flamenca or a neighbour who still plays the Spanish guitar or very, very patiently and thoroughly puts his craft into a wooden door or creative 'rejas': it's all around us.
October is not to tick off items of your Bucket List. It's for the true highlights of life: those you stumble over without any plan, and not a single moment of organisational stress or the paradox of too many choices.
Our lovely visitors have got watches and schedules and lists - and we have got time.