Friday, November 12, 2010

Shades of November

Misty days, cold rain falling, leaves scattering from the trees in a red-gold swirl meld with days of brilliant sunshine.  Pure light streams through late autumn color and spills over fields of new, green rye.  My fair valley is a glistening jewel on such days and I can see the Alleghenies from my window.  When it’s hazy, mist veils the mountains rising beyond the muted hills above our meadow.

On my dining room table sits a box of crocus and other tiny bulbs that ought to be in the ground.  I’ve already planted oodles of bulbs this fall and temporarily stalled as to where to put these.  I got carried away in hot muggy August when daughter Elise and I ordered the bulbs–even tacked this order  on to the one she and I’d already made after she returned to school.  Back then autumn seemed but a  dream of faultless blue skies, crisp air, and glorious leaves that stretched on and on infinitely in my mind.

In reality,  fall comes and goes all too quickly…the wonder and beauty that lures me 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 seek for the joys in this one.

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 fragrance.  I have a fireplace DVD, I kid you not, and a 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 when all I owned was the DVD 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. 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–my father says when he was young and the air clearer, people could see the Washington Monument in Washington, DC from a point in the Blue Ridge.  I hope we will get our air quality that pure again.  Meanwhile, when I’m in the lodge before that hearth I’m deeply content to let the rain fall and fog shroud the ridges.  A snug log cabin would also do nicely as a writers retreat.
One of the benefits of these darkening days is that it’s an excellent time for writing and reading, two of my most favorite occupations.    I need a new CD, something with a historic and fantasy sound, music that transports me from here to there, to write my latest light paranormal romance to.  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 and have collected releases from various artists but 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 and baking bread, one of today’s projects.

*Pics of The Alleghenies, Our Farm, and Me writing with my faithful companion Sadie Sue~ Pics by mom, daughter Elise
Royalty free image of hearth

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