A Lollygag Autumn and Screes of Snow

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I live in a place where summer is epic, winter is iconic, and spring is muddy. (Bleeeeech.) Autumn is my favorite: beautiful and fresh and peaceful. Our valley teems with locals (both two- and four-legged) because summer travelers have returned to their real lives, and winter athletes won’t appear until ski slopes open.

One September or October day is more special to me than all others. It’s a revelation of sorts. Clouds will cluster on the mighty mountains to the south, and I’ll know we’re close. When they blow eastward, caps of snow appear. Just as they did Tuesday morning in the photo above.

0925151314a (1)This first scree of snow was late, interrupting perfect lollygag weather laced with warm days and cool nights and bursting with a scramble of activities such as hiking, fly-fishing and golf.

Crossing a bridge in a cart last week, I (habitually) glanced at a small stream churning with the distinctive swirl of spawning trout. After screeching (literally) to a halt, I dashed (sort of) strode purposefully back to watch eight nice browns swerve and dance over the patch they had cleaned in the gravel stream bed. The fish had darkened to a rich mahogany, meaning their spawn was almost over. I smiled at the rebirth they represented, knowing that their fingerlings (babies) will populate this stream when it thaws in May.

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And my writing in the midst of all this bustle? This pursuit is one of phases. Some are crazy, as in when the manuscript pours from my mind, through my fingertips and onto my computer screen. Some are delightfully tedious, like the edit cycle that I love so much because it brings clarity to my work.

And some require the patience of Job. My literary agent has done her job well, and we’re waiting to see what publishers will do now that they’ve grasped what readers and reviewers are saying: there’s a time and place for a vigorous, global, middle-aged female protagonist committed to doing the right thing. The time and place are now. The protagonist is archaeologist Grace Madison.

DSC01935I’m dying to share about book 3, but can’t quite yet. So go rake leaves, or take a walk, or build a fire in your fireplace, or put on your chunkiest sweater and imagine snow. Or read Thomas Merton. (I’d recommend A Year With Thomas Merton.) His devotionals wire me tightly to the natural world, filling me with his sense of awe. They create a perfectly delicious mindset as I pivot toward the holidays. I’m so pleased that you’re with me, and stay tuned!

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