Fall #Writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

Mrs. N planted moss around the bubbling waterfall and wiped her muddy hands on her jeans. Thank the stars that autumn was yoohooing at the garden gate. Summer was Mrs. N’s most hectic time with keeping the property up and making it look pretty for the residents. No doubt about it, everything grew like weeds—assuming there was such a thing—but it still required knuckle-swelling, knee-creaking work!

She preferred a natural-looking landscape, but even that took planning. “Meticulous design is the foundation to success,” the boss man insisted, even if most people didn’t realize it when marveling over the results. And honestly, that was the point, wasn’t it? Nature was supposed to look natural.

And it wasn’t only about plants; there were animals scurrying and flitting about. The perfect garden had to take them into account too. As usual, she’d planted wildflowers here and there for a lively surprise and to satisfy the bees and butterflies.

This year had been dry, and sprinkling raindrops on roses had taken an ocean of effort. She smiled at the waterfall and checked the crumpled list of chores she wrestled from her back pocket. Seed-gathering! That had started way back in July, for heaven’s sake. Envelopes lined her garden bench with thousands of varieties, gazillions really, at least that’s what her aching back told her.

Some perennials needed to be divided, but she was too worn out for that. They’d grow or die off—survival of the fittest didn’t only apply to creatures with teeth and feet. And she’d resigned herself decades ago to just flinging her bulbs willy-nilly. The leaves would cover them in a few weeks, and she’d consider them planted!

She sighed at the grass stains on her knees as autumn bellowed and rattled the gate. Tuckered out, Mrs. N made the same deal with herself that she made every year. Screw it. Time for some fun.

With renewed vigor, she rummaged through her shed. Autumn… autumn was for artists, and Mrs. N was the top of her class, a master, even better than that Dutch guy. Autumn was where she shined. It was messy and creative, a free-for-all celebration after the endless toil of summer.

She lugged her cans of color into the sunlight, all the ones she’d restocked last winter, including an array of scarlets and golds, pumpkin and vermillion, a touch of eggplant and jay blue. With a rusty screwdriver, she popped off the lids.

After swigging down three bottles of hard cider, she did some stretches to limber up. A bit tipsy, she threw open the gate and let autumn burst into the yard. The two of them twirled through her garden in a drunken dance, giggling and snorting and splattering color with fat brushes until the place was a messy, vibrant masterpiece.

With a satisfied yawn, Mrs. N settled into her lawn chair, content to let autumn fling the last drops from the cans. She put her feet up and admired their work. When autumn too wore herself out and disappeared through the gate, as she always did, Mrs. N snuggled under her white blanket and dreamed about spring.

***

Thanks to Sue Vincent for the colorful autumn #Writephoto prompt.

I’m on the road again with sketchy internet. I hope you enjoy and will respond to comments and return visits as soon as I’m able. Enjoy!

 

Autumn

pixabay image

In celebration of Colleen’s 100th poetry challenge! A haibun/tanka.

Autumn

I love autumn, even though it’s a season of dying. There’s no ignoring the withering of vines and weeds, the fading light and deepening chill. Leaves cease gobbling up sunlight and chlorophyll breaks down. The green ripeness withdraws, revealing shades of canary yellow, pumpkin, and fire-engine red… before crisping to brown. How softly life let’s go. With a breath of wind, it drifts and returns to the earth. Nature is wise, isn’t she… to make this time of dying so beautiful? There are lessons in each of her rolling seasons. The graceful fall of Fall mirrors my experience working in hospice. If we are lucky we will spend our autumns like the leaves, in beauty and glory, bright and brisk of spirit, joyous and beloved… and let go with a whisper to dance on the wind.

I glide with the wind
in autumn’s celebration
gold and vermillion
a confetti of crimson
dying in graceful beauty

October

My backyard

I wrote this poem during my first fall in Oregon. It was inspired by the 10-mile drive from town to my home along Highway 47, one of many roads here that takes my breath away.

October

If I drive off the road of life
know I was distracted by the wilderness
gazing for a moment at gilded leaves
arched against jagged boughs of evergreen.
 
Perhaps I beheld a quilted river
of fallen crimson and vermillion
winding along the roadside
vine maples blazing in random rays of sun.
 
Had I gazed into the weave and texture of leaves
layers interlaced, sharp and dense against the sky?
Or the rain glistening, black branches of the forest bending
silhouetted by canopies of countless green.
 
Did I glimpse dry fields of weeds,
browning blades and flyaway seeds
the river meandering, my roadside companion
a tapestry of quiet color before me?
 
If I soar off the road of life
and fail to rise
know that I drove distracted by the wilderness
and my eyes brimmed with beauty.

***

Just a note that Catling’s Bane is free today until the 29th.

Love, Gratitude, and Friendship

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love that we don’t give presents, only our presence.

In lieu of my usual post, I invite you into my secret garden

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These are some fall photos of my yard, taken on my ancient camera.

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The last brave roses are still in bloom

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And the grape vines are really this ridiculous, glorious color!

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Of course, this wonderfall color has submitted to the rain.

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When the leaves fall, many of the trees are covered in silver moss that looks like snow

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And my doorbell. Did I mention that dragons live here?
(Ignore the cobwebs.  Clearly, spiders live here too).

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May your day, wherever you are in the world, grow a peaceful garden of love, gratitude, and friendship.

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m traveling for a few days. See you soon.

Falling Moon

falling-moon

In my fantasy world, the Falling Moon welcomes a world of pattering rains and burnished leaves fluttering in brisk winds. The wilderness twirls and tumbles and the forest floor blazes in a coverlet of color. The land softens and patchworks of umber and gold quilt the hillsides. It’s a time of frosted breath and morning ice, of warm fires and falling light.

The Falling Moon shines over the world on October 16th

Pieter Bruegel

Pieter Bruegel

Excerpt from Eye of Fire,  Dragon Soul Quartet (Book II)

That night the travelers celebrated their safe arrival with the village. Lamb sizzled on spits over two cookfires in Phelan’s trampled gardens, and the women of Taran Leigh served the season’s last greens, seeded bread, and tart pies sweetened with clover honey. The men uncorked jugs of dark ale and passed them around the gathering, making for a jovial evening.

Taran Leigh’s cooper carted in a drum fashioned from an old cask and settled his bulk near the cookfire’s light. He thumped a rhythm as steady as a heartbeat as Torin brandished his wooden flute. The pair of them played a tune for the village, for the food and ale, for the fire’s embrace, for the freedom and Belonging spilling from the sky like starlight. Ceridwen sang, and the villagers joined in as if their songs too would break free of their bodies and soar. Conall hugged Treasa to his side and pointed up. Earlin raised her eyes to the night. The moon hovered, as round and shimmering and close to a golden coin as any of them would ever need.

Reaper’s Moon

reaper's moon

In my fantasy world, the Reaper’s Moon signals the arrival of autumn. The heat of summer blows west with curling seawinds, and morning fog rolls on the inland sea like living smoke. On shore, milkweed bursts with silken wings and thistles shed their white beards. The land is softened by fields of grain in hues of copper and carnelian, apples bow the branches, and winter’s wood is stacked.

The Reaper’s Moon is a time of harvest, ripening roots, and gardens of green bolting with seeds. It’s the promise of neighbors and picnics, percussion and strings, the close of summer visible in calloused hands and sun-browned shoulders, wool evenings and fresh baked pie.

The full Reaper’s Moon glides across the night sky on September 16.

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Excerpt from Eye of Fire, the Dragon Soul Quartet

The noise of revelers faded as the sounds of the sea sang in the night. His head thick with drink, Morgen excused himself for a stroll back to the cove in the dark. “I’ll ride the longboat out to the Eadwynn and find a comfortable berth in the captain’s cabin.”

Neve winked at him, sharing the man’s preference for a ship’s gentle rock over the stillness of her floor where Captain Cradog snored. “I told you he’s a fool,” she’d said, observing the sleeping man. “But he’s a fine seaman with a good heart.”

After Morgen left, she lay a blanket over Cradog. Sitting on the edge of her bed, she watched him sleep, his mouth hanging open, face serene. She reached down and held his nose, only enough to silence his snoring. At times, she felt like his mother, not his lover, as if he were a lad in a man’s body, still growing into himself, unaware of his potential, the possibilities she saw and loved. She didn’t try to guide him or change him. His choices were his own and his life his to haul.

In truth, Neve simply remained true to herself and didn’t tolerate any foul from him or anyone else for that matter. She didn’t give a piss about what others thought or did with their lives and didn’t care if they liked her choices either. Cradog could take it or leave it, and he tried awfully hard to take it.

Oh, but, she was fond of watching him grow. The man was like her garden, full of gifts, things coming up she never expected, little seeds sprouting that she’d planted long ago and forgotten. He grew fresh and wild and weedy and delicious and abundant when she tended him and made sure he got plenty of sunlight.

Slipping from her clothes, Neve slid under her blankets. She peered over the edge of the bed and almost woke him up.

I am what I read.

image from pixaby.com

image from pixaby.com

By the close of summer, I’m often tired of my fair-weather pace. I tend to catch colds this time of year…my body nudging me toward rest when I disregard its subtler cues. One more hurdle, one more commitment, one more task, one more…cough cough.

I’m ready to surrender to the slowness of fall. My characters are stretching and yawning – a sure sign of my approaching hibernation. Autumn suits me. It’s a time of tethering those parts of me that I’ve flung wide while venturing from my cozy burrow to bathe in some overdue sunshine.

Sometimes I feel like a sponge, sucking feelings out of the air as if they’re spilled water. Is this a writer thing? A plague of empathy? An inability to separate oneself from the pathos of life? Do all humans do this?

I am what I read. I am what I write – a torch of outrage at injustice, a soggy heart at tales of loss, grinning like a lovestruck moon. I’m tickled into laughter, sailing with beauty, and slogging through the morass of political hell. Every choice, every action, every motivation is sparked by emotion. I’m not a rational being. My feelings wear me out.

Books tend to infuse and reflect my state of mind. Do your books do that for you? To you?

If I read an inspiring story, my words are sweeter, hopeful, and I believe that love will prevail over fear. Blogging is honey for my soul as I am blown away by the generosity of spirit that scrolls across my screen. All over the globe there are people who restore/restory my faith in humanity, sharing poignant tales of love and loss, of sacrifice and courage. Your words bring laughter and tears, draw the world’s vast human landscape within reach of my chair. You remind me of the myriad ways we are brothers and sisters, and I reap the needed faith to pour love and hope onto the pages I write.

If I’m troubled by the brutality of mankind, as I often am, that too bleeds into my work. My mother complains that my books are violent, and all I can say in response is “look around you.” I can’t pretend that what rends my heart and fires my blood doesn’t exist. I can’t erase it from the slate of my memory. I can’t unfeel it.

Lately, I sense my mood darkening, so it’s time for a boost of inspiration and infusion of peace. It happens that I recently received a 3 day, 3 quote challenge. To prepare, I’ve picked up one of my favorite books for a reread – something I rarely do, but who am I to argue with synchronicity.

Anam Cara, by Irish poet and theologian John O’Donohue, rests at the top of my heart’s list.  I’ll be revisiting the dog-eared pages, my old highlights and underlines promising gems of faith and ancient magic. I’ll choose a few – okay, more like 9 – favorite quotes to share with you.

Happy writing and peace.

image from flickr.com

image from flickr.com