Pass the Pumpkins, Please

Autumn in the High Country is beyond belief. I marvel at the colors that flamboyantly embellish every natural surface of the mountains and valley floor, and pity those folks who do not get to enjoy this season to its vibrant fullest. Living here in late September and October, surrounded by persimmon-colored serviceberry bushes and yellow and flame-tipped aspens, is a feast for the eyes.
And the soul. How can a heart not soar when looking at such beauty?
The critters are busy preparing for the cold to come. Yesterday (stop reading if you’re squeamish) we heard a mountain lion kill an elk in the creek bed at the base of our property. I hope that the whistles and squeals and grunts and growls are the last five-minute dirge I ever hear. A roughly four-hundred-pound black bear roams these parts every dusk and the chickadees (that I thought lived only in Norman Rockwell’s imagination since they didn’t exist where I grew up) gorge on every berry they find. Even the pair of fox has stepped up its pace, sweeping through quickly as they search for rodents and rabbits.

buckAlthough I’ve seen no blaze orange on the mountainside a couple of miles north of my office, the rut starts soon. This young fellow didn’t get the message that he was supposed to appear manly to seduce a sweetheart. If you look closely, you can see the velvet trailing from the antler on the right, and a daisy tangled in the top tip of the antler on the left. He’s going to make quite an impression with his boutonniere. What a dandy!

Pumpkins fill crates in front of the grocery stores, Halloween candy lines the aisles. Companies are blowing out irrigation systems and cutting lawns for the last time, removing debris so that the snow doesn’t create a moldy mess in the spring. Revving chain saws fill the air as residents stock wood piles for the winter. The valley-wide ski swap—an annual event that erases social and economic barriers—just ended with winter gear finding happy new homes.

0920160806With the changing seasons, I’m making changes too. I’m drafting a new manuscript with new characters. It’s suspense, but crafted a little closer to home. The protagonist rivals Grace Madison, whom I’m not abandoning. Her adventures are far from over.

But with the changes in my life, most particularly the loss of Mom and Dad so recently, I’m pushing against boundaries a wee bit. Preparing for the directions I want to go with the wonderful decades I have left. Invigorated by the seasons to come.

I hope you’re (wisely) obliterating boundaries too. We’re not meant to be caged, you know. Spread your wings! Fly!

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