I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.”
“I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.” Nathaniel Hawthorne
I find myself thinking of the Hawthorne quote again and again as I go through fall this year. The foliage started turning very early, and we’re having a particularly mild fall—we’ve barely had a frost and usually have had a hard freeze by now—so spending my daylight hours in the open air (to borrow Mr. Hawthorne’s words) has been quite enjoyable. Leaf peeping season is in full swing. And boaters are enjoying the long fall to get out on the water as much as possible.
Our long fall has lead to a wonderful season for photography. This post has some of my favorite photos of fall and the coast (in no particular order). I hope you enjoy looking at them even half as much as I enjoyed taking them!
I think orange would be a good word to describe the season for me right now. What signals the turn of season in your corner of the world? What color? Are you spending time outside enjoying the changes?
These days you’ll find me in revision and editing mode. The manuscript I (almost) finished during NaNoWriMo is now just about at first draft stage. I’m doing a read through, and while I do I have my favorite editing pen close at hand: a magenta PaperMate InkJoy 500 RT. No, this is not an endorsement nor an advertisement, and I’m not being paid a penny for saying what I’m about to say.
Still, I’ll say it. I’ve always been a red-pen kind of writer (I can thank Professor Drechsel for this: Newswriting 101). In fact, editing with a red pen was one of my regular habits—like writing at one particular table in one particular coffee shop, listening to the same set of songs prior to and during writing, and wearing a special pair of socks while writing (okay that last one is untrue, but rule of three and all…).
Anyway, last Christmas my son’s lovely girlfriend gave me a pack of PaperMate InkJoy 500 RT pens (assorted colors), and I got particularly attached to said magenta pen. Not to be mistaken for the InkJoy 550 or 100, mind you—something that came up when I tried to replace my favorite pen and I accidentally bought the 100s (this is when I also found out that the RT stands for retractable, thank you kind Staples associate for this key piece of information).
But why was I in need of replacing my favorite pen, you might ask. No, it didn’t run out of ink. I actually left it somewhere quite on purpose, in a particular circumstance. I’m not trying to be overly mysterious or dramatic here, just trying to pique your curiosity enough that you’ll head over to read the whole story on Writer Unboxed… let me add that it involves Nathaniel Hawthorne, probably my favorite author of all time.
Please head over to Writer Unboxed and read: I Left My Heart At Authors Ridge!
I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.
When Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote those words, it is believed he was living in Lenox, Massachusetts, where he wrote The House of the Seven Gables. So I’m guessing he spent a lot of time inside, writing, in addition to being out in the open air.
I immediately thought of his words when I was driving home from Starbucks this morning, passing the red and gold woods infused with autumn sunshine. The sun hit the trees just right and not only did the trees blaze, but the sky around them glowed, too. All I had with me was my iPhone so I rushed home to get my camera… I wanted to be outside, but—more importantly—I had a blog in mind.
When I found the camera, tucked on a shelf in my study, the battery was dead. A year ago this would never have happened. A year ago I was taking more photos, putting more photos in my blog, spending more time on social networking in general. I looked back at my autumn post from last year, “Amidst Swirling Words & Leaves,” and not only does it have three photos (taken with a real camera) but it also has a full poem (Longfellow) and I made a special trip to nearby Bowdoin College to take the photos.
Times change. I’m outside a lot less (sorry Nathaniel), the camera battery is not charged, the garden is ill-kempt, the house is unclean, meals have been reduced to the speediest possible, and my blog has taken the backseat. I’m still writing, but I’m focused more on fiction.
I’m writing every day, and I’m loving it. So let the camera battery remain uncharged (I can always use my iPhone if I have to…which is what I did for the photo accompanying this post), let the Twitter account collect dust most days, let the blog take the hit with fewer postings, because my mind is swirling with words…and stories.
What are you up to this fall? Are you enjoying the weather outside? Taking photos? Or are you (like me) happily (inside) at your writing station?
Yesterday MEH (My Engineer Husband) and I went “leaf peeping,” which is to say we went out for the sole purpose of looking at the changing fall foliage. In this small and excellent adventure, words became a central part—as they often do for me. Because it’s funny how we use words without thinking (and when I say “we,” let me be clear, it’s the universal “we”). In other words, words and expressions become second nature to our daily life—yet others may have no idea whatsoever what we’re talking about.
|Bowdoin College’s Massachusetts Hall|
As we strolled and took photographs, we walked the paths they’d walked. And in addition to the leaves, we peeped the original three buildings that comprised the Bowdoin campus during those long ago years: the chapel, Maine Hall, and Massachusetts Hall (that now houses, appropriately, the English department). While we walked, I thought about words these early writers might have used to describe what we were seeing, and when I got home to my computer, I was delighted to learn that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote a poem about autumn.
AutumnThou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal handOutstretched with benedictions o’er the land,Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspendedSo long beneath the heaven’s o’er-hanging eaves;Thy steps are by the farmer’s prayers attended;Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!
|This photo reminded me of the descriptions
in Longfellow’s poem.
All this made me realize that whether by distance of time or geography, words can take on different meanings or at times make no sense at all. Yet as writers this is our purpose and daily endeavor: to take words and make them meaningful, to help them take on a life of their own, and to ultimately help others feel the things we felt when we wrote them.
Yesterday morning’s sky glowed beautifully pink. Every time I see a sunrise or sunset like that, I think of my grandmother who used to say this old weather lore every time she saw a pink sky:
“Pink sky at morning, sailors take warning;
|Robert W. Service, from wikipedia|
|Nathaniel Hawthorne, from wikipedia|