Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fall, it's over too soon

Fall is my favorite season. It's what brought me to the North Carolina mountains--the brilliant colors, the smell of newly fallen pine needles, the thin, crisp morning air.  Every year I want it to last forever.  It just doesn't seem fair that it's over so quickly.  

All four seasons are roughly 90 days long, but to me, it seems that summer and winter frequently steal days from the front and back end of fall.  Officially, autumn starts with the September equinox (around the 24th) and ends with the winter solstice (around December 21st), but fall really starts with the first crisp, cool morning that makes you think of football, and it ends when the colors fade, the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner have been consumed, and the first snow transforms the landscape.  

To my surprise, a 2005 Gallup poll found the most popular season to be spring, receiving the nod from 36% of those polled.  Fall came in a distant second at 27%.  But if you look more closely at the favorite months, May was at the top with 14%, and October was second at 13%, a much closer race. The bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Blue Ridge Parkway in October would indicate the gap between the leading months to be very thin. 

I think spring benefits by getting credit for signifying the end of winter, the most hated season.  Most people (skiers being the exception) look forward to the end of winter and the coming of spring, while fewer people (mainly sunburned redheads) look forward to the end of summer.

Personal characteristics most commonly associated with those liking fall are: creative, calm, and hardworking. Those linked to liking spring are considered: cheerful, optimistic, and friendly.  I can't disagree with these associations.  As I look out my window this morning at the beautiful North Carolina landscape, bursting in color, it brings me a sense of calm and inspires creativity.   

I hope winter stays away a little longer this year.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Writing productivity - Life gets in the way

My writing productivity has hit an all-time low since I took up this avocation five years ago.  It seems life is getting in the way, and that’s not a bad thing.

My wife and I recently returned from a two-week tour of Alaska.  It was on our bucket list, and the cruise and overland excursion were everything we’d anticipated--and more.  I enjoyed doing some reading on our trip, but even though I’m 60,000 words into my next novel, I didn't write one paragraph over the two weeks.

If you read my blog, you know that I’m a supporter of the work done by animal shelters. My wife and I had planned on getting a rescue puppy from a local shelter following our Alaska vacation.  We’d lost our long-time canine companion more than a year ago, and we agreed it was time to add to our family.  Well, we did.  We picked up Milo, a black lab puppy with a Heinz 57 mix in her blood line, and our life has been forever changed.  Milo has her own blog, and you can read about our adventures with Milo at

My wife and I are very fortunate to have a group of great friends. With our children and their families living so far away, our friends are very important to us, and it seems every weekend includes time with them.  I anticipate my writing will take a back seat to time with family and friends with the holidays approaching. 

If you add in community volunteering with its associated time commitments, finding time for writing becomes very challenging—and I’m retired.   I’m amazed when I read about writers with small children, full-time jobs, and similar life events to those challenging my time.  I don’t know how they do it.

I’m not complaining. I wouldn't have it any other way.  There was a time soon after I retired when my life stopped.  I didn't know what I would do.  Writing was my way forward, and thankfully, life has slowly gotten in the way.