Misty autumn day, cold rain falling, leaves scattering from the trees in a red-gold swirl. The Alleghenies are veiled in the distance beyond the hazy hills above our meadow. On my dining room table sits a box of tiger lily and tulip bulbs that need planting, should already be in the sodden ground. I trust we’ll have some fine sunny days yet that may entice me out into the garden before winter settles in.
Daughter Elise and I ordered the bulbs back in hot, muggy August when fall seemed but a dream of deep blue skies, crisp air, and glorious leaves. Too fast it comes and goes, the wonder and beauty that lures us into those long dark months before the return of my beloved spring. Not all the leaves are fallen yet and some vivid color remains on the trees, but not for long. Still, there is much to be savored about every season and I shall seek for the joys in this one while bidding a wistful farewell to what has been a spectacular October.
For one thing, advancing November is what I call ‘the snugly time.’ For those of you with real fireplaces, I envy you. There’s such primal satisfaction and comfort in the crackle of a wood fire, the orange glow of the flames and red coals, the smoky scent. I have a fireplace DVD, I kid you not, and an large electric space heater that looks like a wood stove with a fake fire in it. But it gives out warmth and if I play the fireplace DVD while running the space heater/wood stove, at least it provides the feel of a hearth. Certainly better than back when all I had was the DVD alone. That emitted zero heat in this drafty old farm house. My sister, feeling this was the height of pathetic, gave me the wood stove/space heater for Christmas. We do have ancient chimneys here but none are safe to use. Someday, someday, we shall build a new one. But the farm has a way of eating up all the scanty funds before they stretch to include a new stone hearth.
I’d love a massive hearth such as I describe in many of my novels. Hint, hint. The Big Meadows Lodge up on the Skyline Drive has the most wonderful hearth in the world. I could settle in for days and write in that cozy room with a superb view of the ridges and valley spreading out below. On a clear day, you can see for miles and miles. And when I’m up there before that hearth I am deeply content to let the rain fall and fog shroud the ridges. A snug log cabin would also do nicely as a writers retreat.
As for one of the benefits of these darkening days. It’s an excellent time for writing and reading, two of my most favorite occupations. I need a new CD, something with an historic and fantasy sound, music that transports me from here to there, to finish writing my latest light paranormal novel. Recent choices include the soundtrack from Prince Caspian, Lord of the Rings (all three of them) the latest Harry Potter soundtrack…I’m open to suggestions. I love Celtic music, but own quite a collection of various artists and nothing I have seems to suit the mood I’m seeking. On goes my search for the perfect music to write to.
*This is also a great time of year for making soup.