winter

winter

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October


A few days ago, I posted something on facebook, something like, "I wish October would stick around just a bit longer." Not only is it one the most beautiful months of the year, but it's the most inspiring and reflective months for me as well.

Last evening I was perched on a hay bale, witnessing two beautiful young people pledge their commitment to one another in the middle of a corn field. The sun was just setting, a chill was invading the air, solar lanterns were beginning to glow. It was a beautiful night and a beautiful, albeit short, ceremony. The bride came riding up in a hay wagon (45 minutes late but well, that's her style), the groom stood pink-cheeked and patient. I thought back to the forced poses of my wedding photos, the awkward stance, the crooked bouquets, and I watched how naturally this bride and groom reacted to one another. It was a pleasant sight. If I was to ever marry again (highly doubt it), I'd like the same type of ceremony, the same naturalness, the same lack of pretense.

Just some October thoughts. The leaves here aren't turning as quickly as usual, maybe because we've had so much rain this summer, but they're beginning to tip red and gold. I noticed the backyard was damp this morning when I took Ella out, My marigolds are thriving again in the cool damp air, but my sage and coneflowers are done for the season.  It's time to put some things away, time to pull up impatiens and put my clay pots back in the garage.

October goes by too quickly for me. I've just gotten back into my cooking groove - I found some beautiful gala apples at the farmers market the last few times I've gone and some tasty apple crisps have come out of that. A bowl squats on my kitchen counter filled with acorn squash, winter squash, fresh garlic and sweet potatoes. Yesterday, I concocted a chicken pot pie, with carrots and onions  also from the farmers market.  October's kind of an organic time for me, as they say, farm to table.

So, I'm looking forward to bonfires, soups and stews, wool sweaters and heavy socks. I'm  thinking of red and gold plaids scarves, carving pumpkins, football and cider. And maybe I'll get the chance to perch on a hay bale at some point again before month's end.

What's your favorite month or time of the year and why?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Certainty


 

As writers, we step out into the unknown every day. Each time we sit down, fingers poised over the keyboard, ready to type out our missive, one foot and then the other steps off the well known path and we free fall. We free fall into a place less certain.

Someone said today, about a life changing move he made some time ago, that had he known at the time how much bravery it took to make that move and then, after realizing he was really there, to work that move, he possibly wouldn't have done it at all. He would have remained at his 8-5 job, made babies with his wife, looked forward to a retirement someday, but he would have never have known what it was like to step off that cliff and let himself experience a place less certain.

We overvalue certainty is the conclusion I am coming to. I had to stop and think about that concept for awhile, not just in my writing life but in my personal life as well. I was fairly certain at one time that my parents would live forever, that nothing would change and they would always be in my life as the head of our family. In February 2011, as I stood helplessly by, watching my mother slip away, that concept was shattered. I was no longer certain. Then, in January 2012, my beloved lab and pal of 12 and a half years, Sunny, left me after suffering a stroke, and again, certainty was ripped out of my hands.  Here in 2013, I'm standing on the brink of a coming circumstance that is going to change my life for the rest of my life, and I find myself in a place that is not certain. Changes and decisions I am going to have to make are not going to be comfortable for me and some of the things I was certain of are now off the table.

We become dependent on the routine of our lives, the rising and setting of the sun, the turning of the seasons, foolishly, we believe that nothing is ever really going to affect us.

But as writers, the circumstances that do affect us are part and parcel of what we write and how we write and why we write. Probably we should never be in an absolute certain place because, wouldn't we become complacent? Self-satisfied? Could we miss an opportunity for growth if not for being shaken up from time to time? With change comes growth, and growth is the raw element of all things, isn't it?

Growing as a writer is of paramount importance. Personal growth is important. How do you find the two concepts mesh? How does it affect your writing?