Not Yet… Noooooo!!!

We wandered the gardens this morning, the dog and I. He caught up on wildlife scents while I checked out how things had survived the weeks of our vacation abandonment.

There weren’t a lot of blooms on the potentilla and I was surprised to find the dogwood leaves fading and the ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum heads already blushing early hints of what later will become a rich rusty red. That’s when it happened.

My next step caused a crunch and I discovered the leaves. The sheltered half of the recently mown lawn, spread green in the shade of hemlock and alder, was sprinkled with fallen leaves. My heart rejected what my eyes couldn’t deny. It seems we’re going to have an early autumn this year and I’m so not ready, even though it’s my favourite season.

There are good things about changing seasons but I never manage to accomplish everything intended before it’s time to move on.  I had goals for this summer – to polish a final draft of one novel and seek agent representation for it, get a contest entry ready for submission and resume working on a suspended w.i.p. I made it only half way through the list. Drat!

I’m happy to have the novel ready for submission, but the agent I planned to approach is currently not accepting queries so I’ll have to decide whether to sit on it for a while or look elsewhere. Maybe I’ll drag it along with me and pitch it at the conference I’m attending next month. I did meet the contest deadline with not one but two entries, but the other unfinished novel is still waiting for attention. Did you have goals for this summer? Did you reach them? If not, what got in the way?

Officially summer isn’t over until the Fall Equinox, which arrives this year on September 23rd. That means I have two weeks yet. I’m taking part in Shari Green’s ‘Back to the Books’ challenge with a declared goal of BIC (Butt in Chair) for two hours a day, five days a week. There’s no telling how much I could get written on that w.i.p. in twenty hours if I start right now, is there? I’m off to find the file.

Oh, but I can’t go quite yet. I promised more info about next week’s interview with Keli Gwyn on her Romance Writers on the Journey website. Keli interviews both debut and aspiring authors and she was kind enough to invite me into her realm for a chat. I’ll have a link to the interview on Monday along with a picture of what I’m donating for a draw. It’s a “Take It With You” writing kit for writing on the run. It’s everything you need  for those creative times away from your computer… a zippered case containing a writing journal, notebook, pens, pencil and highlighter, index cards, sticky notes – even a bar of organic dark chocolate to tempt the muse.

Some lucky person who stops in at Keli’s blog and comments on the interview will win the kit, and I hope it will be you. (You’d love it; I know you would!) Hope to see you there on Monday.

Simmering Summer

Today is the first in a forecasted series of 32oC days. I retreated indoors and closed blinds against the sun when breezes stilled and the motionless air outside became too heavy. Now slits of light leave stripes on the family room floor.  Except for the occasional flitting dragonfly, there is no movement out in the hovering afternoon heat. It’s quiet in a siesta sort of way as if everything is hunkered down to wait for evening’s respite.

Then life will return to the garden and surrounding forest. Blackbirds and Stellar jays will shriek from their hiding places while hummingbirds buzz back and forth jostling for position at the feeder. As I lug the watering can around to thirsty plants squirrels will chitter at my intrusion.

There is a sensual peace to summertime – a lazy, hazy lull, a breathless waiting… perhaps it’s for the refreshing splash of a passing rain shower.  I doubt there will be one this evening, though. Indigo skies are clear.

Does summertime heat immobilize you? Does it affect your writing? How do you stay cool?

(Update – I do realize that in places other than where I live, summer is bringing weather extremes that are anything but peaceful. I pray for people in those areas even as I write of my own experience.)

Springtime Waiting and Wanting

Lush spring greens falter against the backdrop of a slate-grey sky. Tiny liquid crystals shimmy on shiny breeze-blown rhododendron leaves. Two weeks from summer’s arrival and still the lawns are squishy beds of moss, gardens a muddy setting for the emerging perennials.

This is my season of impatience. I yearn for warmer temperatures and summer sunshine, for bold geraniums, mounds of sweet alyssum, trailing pastel petunias and friendly daisy faces.

Is it human nature to hunger for what we don’t have? All things in due time. Soon enough I will be yanking out persistent weeds, watering parched plants and complaining about the heat.

I remember this and am thankful for quenching rain and the fresh rosy pleasure of evergreen rhododendrons beginning to bloom.

Today’s writing analogy: Our early seasons offer a time of learning and preparation. I should appreciate the opportunities as they are available, remembering that there will come a time when the heat of schedules, deadlines, and marketing will have me longing for this time of waiting.

When it comes to the writing life do you live in the past, the present or the future? What do those seasons mean to you?

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  • “I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit.” [Leviticus 26:4]
  • “Then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil.” [Deuteronomy 11:14]

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Goodbye Summer Reading, Hello Fall Gardening

Just one more day! Yikes! Can I finish all the things I wanted to do this summer in the one day that’s left before autumn arrives on Tuesday? I doubt it. The one thing I have accomplished, however, is meeting my summer reading goal. Challenged by Jennifer Hubbard to read ten books by September 21st, I’ve read twelve:

  1. A Sweetness to the Soul – Jane Kirkpatrick
  2. Northern Lights – Nora Roberts
  3. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
  4. The Bancroft Strategy – Robert Ludlum
  5. Whiteout – Ken Follett
  6. Through the Valley of the Shadow – Rod Gehl
  7. Black Hills – Nora Roberts
  8. Beyond the Vows – Ed Griffin
  9. Fury of the Wind – Doris Riedweg
  10. I Luff You B.C. – Jan Drabek
  11. Word Work – Bruce Holland Rogers
  12. 6th Target – James Patterson/Maxine Paetro

My desire was to read a wider variety than is my norm. My out-of-genre choice was the first book in Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series.  Anything even faintly paranormal usually doesn’t interest me but I’ve met Diana at writers’ conferences and was curious about her writing style. I surprised myself by being totally caught up in Jamie and Claire’s across-the-centuries story and Diana’s captivating prose. I am now a convert and am just delving into the second in the series, “Dragonfly in Amber”.

But as summer fades so, too, do the flowers in our garden beds and there is a staggering amount of deadheading, weeding and cutting back of perenniels confronting me every time I glance out the window. Garden or read? Read or garden? Oh, what to do? Surely the gardening can wait another day while I luxuriate in one last summertime read. Of course it can!

Summer Storm

Summer air, heavy with unshed humidity, stifles the usual evening sounds. Breezes that were making the 31o heat bearable suddenly die and birds disappear into their woodland sanctuaries leaving an ominous silence.

 

It’s still two hours before sunset but I flick on lamps to fend off the darkness as purple-black clouds obliterate the sun. The dog paces from room to room, returning periodically to stand at the screened patio door, ears alert to something I cannot hear.

 

Like an approaching freight train a distant rumble rolls its way into the valley. It isn’t a crash and boom kind of storm, but one that builds slowly into a crescendo punctuated with increasing explosions of lightning. The wind races in and flings pellets of rain at the house, spattering them against the screens and instantly filling the eaves trough to overflowing. I hasten to close doors and windows.

 

Protected behind glass I stand watching until the tantrum wanes, thankful for the rain that puddles in the gardens while dreading the likelihood of more forest fires.

 

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

[Psalm 19:1]

Time for a Change

It will soon be a year since I began this blog (June 28th) and in recognition of that as well as of the approaching summer season I decided it was time for a change. Of course those who know me will understand that I don’t make decisions easily! I was all psyched up to put a brand new face on the blog, but after a couple hours of wandering through possibilities and wondering which I preferred, I finally settled for a new photo for the header on the old page. Baby steps.

 

The photo is of our lake in the Cariboo. Each time I see it my spirits lift with the thought that in just a few weeks I’ll be there to take in my annual dose of summer serenity. Woot!

 

Pine fresh air, the call of the loons, treks to the outhouse in the 2 a.m. moonlight, creek-cold wash water. Ah, there’s nothing like it! I can hardly wait!

Pine

I take it all back. I AM complaining!

I know I said I wasn’t complaining. But today our 34o temperature made us the hot spot in Canada, breaking an all time record for the date. Last year June came in as the coldest in fifty years. This year it has come in hotter than has ever been recorded in the seventy years of record keeping. So, yes, I’m complaining about the heat and I think I’m justified, don’t you?

Did Someone Say It’s Summer?

I’m not complaining. Truly I’m not! After all, complaints were plentiful enough when Spring was late arriving and Winter’s chill lingered into May. So now that June has arrived with day after day of more than 30oC temperatures, we’re grateful, right? All those new forest fires mere miles from our summer cabin don’t worry us a bit, do they? I wouldn’t dare admit that I miss April’s showers!

 

Excuse me, but I need to go water the flowers. They’re wilting.