I said that I would do it and indeed I did!

Melancholy wanders in to live with a lot of us in the fall, through the darkening days and the chilling rain. That’s all well and good (and really, it’s a very cozy kind of melancholy). The summertime kind is not cozy or enjoyable. Melancholy may not even be the right word – this year, it’s a grey fog that covers everything. I mentioned in my writing group a couple weeks ago that all I seem to have the energy for is Facebook and Candy Crush. Not writing, not thinking, not cooking, not reading, not anything else I usually like to do.

However, in a spurt of the productive kind of melancholy I produced something, as I said I would. And as I’ve mentioned before, saving face is a great motivator!

The following must be read in a morose tone and you must ponder getting older whilst reading.




While I bemoaned the winter-bare branches Spring came without my noticing.

I looked again and the woods glowed greenly in the faint sun.

Then summer roared in before I appreciated the bright spring-green leaves, still soft and dewy, sticky with brand-newness; not yet made tough by the blasting summer wind nor scorched and wrinkled by glaring sun. The leaves rose to meet the sun eagerly, raising themselves as high as they could, toward the heat, toward the light, toward anything they could reach.

And before I could even take an afternoon to soak the season in, the sun dropped, the earth turned, and the leaves drew in on themselves, drying, wrinkling, turning red and gold and old, but more beautiful than before.

Harvest Time

Ok, so you can probably tell from the title that this post has been languishing for quite a while.

When I started this post in Word, the first paragraph was true. However, then my computer deleted it (seriously, when I opened the Word doc the lines of text deleted themselves before my very eyes as I pounded frantically on the keyboard.  Then my wonderful laptop autosaved the “revision.”

I finally remembered I’d copied it as a draft in WordPress, so all was not lost. Then I went away for two weeks. And then, really, most of the reason for the delay, I was just incredibly lazy.




It’s harvest time here; the pumpkins, gourds and apples are out but the air is still, today at least, summery and warm. Growing up, harvest was a nearly-magical time – not quite as beautiful as winter with its sparkling snow or spring with sticky baby leaves unfurling on the trees, but a warm, orange, spicy beautiful season.  Harvest time meant glowing stands of aspen popping out on the hillsides amidst the lodgepole pines. The energy in the air was high – school was fresh and not yet tiresome. Workbooks were new and crisp, peechees uncreased, and crayons and pencils still long and sharp.

At home on the orchard the days were long. “Straddle” trucks came and deposited rows and rows of wooden bins, and canvas picking bags were retrieved and laid out. The fieldman from the warehouse cooperative came nearly every day to test the sugars to see if the apples were ready for picking.  Single Mexican men were hired by the dozen, ready to be called into action and Dad waited for the day the fieldman said “go.” Once picking started, the air rang with musical Spanish shouted from row to row in the laden orchard. Sometimes one of the men burst into song, exotic and romantic sounding to my little Anglo ears. At night, mariachi and Mexican pop music blared into the late darkness.


Cider apples

The warm fall air was spicy with ripe fruit as the occasional apple fell from the tree or was tossed, rejected for size or bruising, by a picker. Trucks and tractors filled with heaped apple bins came and went between orchard and warehouse all day, all week, as long as there was light to see by. We girls were careful to stay well back from the straddle trucks, as we’d heard of people getting their feet and arms squished as the two sides of the truck trailer frame came together around the full apple bins.


Grinding the apples

Later, we might gather up the apples from the ground under the trees and haul out grandpa’s old cider press and some plastic jugs.  This became an end-of-harvest tradition for many years.


Pressing the ground up fruit.

It’s no coincidence that Thanksgiving shows up right after Harvest time. Gathering your goods around you – jars of peaches, jams, tomato sauce, – maybe you’re more ambitious and do your own jerky and hams; perhaps you have a cellar full of root vegetables cozied up in bushel baskets (I always wanted a root cellar full of bushel baskets).


tomatoes and basil When I had a garden...

Either way, gathering your harvest together makes you realize you have a lot for which to be thankful.

So, a late Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and a blessed Christmas season.

Writer’s Block? Not Me!

Old fashioned typewriter.

The writing prompt this week is “Writer’s Block.” This is the first time I’ve posted in the group. Ironic. Writer’s Block is not exactly my problem. I can write all day long in my head. Canada Geese arrowed overhead, darkly silhouetted against the dove-grey twilight sky, I noted as I went for a walk this evening. The pavement glistened darkly in the rain, reflecting golden streetlights, I added in my head.  I saw a man in the Safeway parking lot getting out of his vehicle.  A half-inch of ash quivered at the end of the cigarette that dangled from his slightly open mouth, seemingly just stuck to his lip as damp paper is wont to do. How did it not fall? I wondered. Sounds like a line by Raymond Chandler. I can even edit in my head. But what I write is sentences, not stories, not essays. The thoughts never fully form themselves into anything coherent.  Sometimes there’s an opening, a beginning. Sometimes there’s a sort of middle where the words carry on for a while and ideas form. But there’s rarely an ending, a resolution.  I just get tired and stop. Then I run a word count and find only 300 words on the page.

My real problem is Writer’s Discipline. Of which I have not a shred. When I sit down at the laptop with an idea, it’s not too many minutes before I see a chore that needs attended to immediately. Facebook isn’t going to look at itself, people.  Recipes and craft project ideas aren’t going to pin themselves. Eventually, even washing the dishes appears to be extremely urgent.  The couch calls. I need to go for a walk. I need to organize my shoes. I need to shop for new shoes. It’s fall – I need new fall outfits. What’s on sale on Amazon today?

I saw a pin just today that said “Write until it becomes as natural as breathing. Write until not writing makes you anxious.” I pinned it to my “Write like no one’s reading” board. Something I did write earlier this year was a confident assertion that I did not plan to live my life filled with fear, but I fear that’s what my lack of discipline actually is. If I never get around to writing anything, I’ll never find out I’m a terrible writer. There will always be something to hope toward, always something to look forward to–someday–“someday” is a running joke in my family; it was what my dad always said: Someday, I’ll build you girls a playhouse. Someday I’ll get that roof fixed. Someday I’ll get those old cars out of the yard. And someday, I will start writing.