A Different Fall

Such a strange year, both in terms of weather and otherwise. We had a lot of rain and little summer. Then fall came, and the weather warmed up and dried out. The fall foliage has been less vivid this season, and came out later than last. The one constant of the season has been the geese. As in previous years, the Canada geese could be heard honking to each other recently as they flew high overhead in twos and fours, or small flocks of a half dozen or so. Their musical calls are a welcome announcement of my favorite season.

With the weather so favorable, Lesley and I have been able to enjoy picnic hiking more than in past seasons. We take a small pack with sandwiches, chips, maybe a salad, and thermoses of tea, and head to one of a number of small state parks in the area. On our last outing, we were walking through the woods when we heard a noise sounding something like a cross between a dog, or coyote, and a loon. Or a cross between a werewolf and vampire. Later, we did some research and discovered the creature to have been a barred owl. Delightful. Never heard one before. Nice, eerie sound to spice up a walk through the woods. Never saw the bird, but would love to.

Meanwhile, the geese have added to their numbers and have been reconnecting with old fly-mates, or making new flock friends. The flocks grow larger as they visit nearby harvested cornfields and return in the evening to a large pond on the other side of our village cemetery. Dozens have grown to hundreds. Flights have dropped to lower altitudes, skimming the treetops enroute to the pond. And, their music seems more restless, eager, insistent. Very soon I expect they will start heading south, as we will ourselves.

I always feel our semiannual shifts leave me a week or month short of the time I’d like to have to be ready for each road trek. This year is no exception. The warmer weather gives me a false sense of having plenty of time left to complete remaining tasks I’d like to get done before going south. The geese are telling me I’d better step up the pace, get focused on what has to be done, and stop thinking about the next hike I’d like to take.

I’m trying to put more hours in on editing my work-in-progress. This manuscript has been slow, largely due to interrupted working schedules. I just committed to a presentation in Florida early next year though. That gives me a new deadline for getting this manuscript edited and publication accomplished. Time to let lazy summer days give way to fall haste and hurry, even if the weather has been pleasantly deceptive as to actual time of year. Time to let Bobby Navarro, my series protagonist, drive my work energies and not allow the news of the day to put a damper on my writing focus. Strange year that way. I wonder how many other writers have to struggle to push aside reports of disasters, natural and social, and not allow the steady cascade of tragedy and crisis impede creative work altogether. How has your year folded out?

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