Sunday, October 31, 2010

sweet endings

Halloween hauntings behind us, trick or treaters in for the night, candy sorted, time to blow out the candle in the jack-o-lantern. And so October comes to a sweet end.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Nothing captures the mystery and magic of October like a night walk. Gauzy gray clouds floating across an ink black sky pierced with tiny stars. Moon hanging overhead or maybe hiding for a while. Houses glowing from within like a candle lighting up a jack-o-lantern. Long shadows in funhouse shapes. Tangy scent of camellia and tea olive magnified by cold air, by darkness. Leaves and acorns crunching underfoot. Or could it be footsteps? Maybe someone else is out for a night walk, too, just drinkin' in the moonshine.

Monday, October 25, 2010

it'll leave you happy

Precious, precious book. Leaves by David Ezra Stein. Sometimes I see an illustrator's work and think 'if I could, this is how I'd want to be able to draw.' His website is a treasure trove of goodness. Take some time to enjoy it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

get small

Remember the Steve Martin schtick 'Let's get small!' circa the late 70's? Circa the rubber arrow through his head, the white suit, balloon animals and banjo? It could just as well be a rallying cry for today. Getting small is the perfect antidote to dealing with a ginormous, out-of-our-control world. Shutting down isn't a viable option. Better to scale back and think small. Don't feel like you need to invite 10 people over for dinner to socialize. Just walk across the street with a couple of bakery rolls and a carafe of coffee when your neighbor's outside. Knit a few rows. Read a chapter. Write a paragraph. Walk a block. Send a postcard. Mail a check to the animal shelter, the food bank, the mentoring program you read about in the paper. Toss a ball to the dog. Instead of 'starting a diet,' have a salad for lunch. Daydream under the huge oak tree in the yard. Carry an acorn in your pocket.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

creature comfort

Is it my imagination or does it seem like all creatures great and small love this time of year, not just people? In the morning, it's as if the squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks are having a carnival. On the gate post, there's a tiny bird I've never seen and he lingers long enough for both of us to have a good look at each other. The dog is eager to walk and walk and walk. Today I spotted the turtle sunning on her creek rock for the first time in months. This must be the happiness before hibernation. When heaven and nature sing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

writing altars

To a writer, the desk is a sacred thing. Pens, pencils, post-it notes, notebooks, notepads, all at hand. A place for every thing and every thing in its place. Most likely there's a computer, too, and an idea board with tear sheets and good quotes and maybe even a tawny gold leaf from a morning walk tucked in for good measure. And, if you're really blessed, a window with a heavenly view.

Friday, October 15, 2010

quilt weather

At StewartMarr, we just wrapped up a campaign for a mountain community using a quilt as our predominant visual. Soon I plan to drive down to Columbia, South Carolina to see the marvelous exhibit of Gee's Bend quilts on display at the Richland County Public Library through November 14th. I've always had a soft spot for a soft old quilt, like the ones mom bought from Flossie in the North Carolina mountains a million summers ago and folded at the foot of our beds in autumn. They were pieced together out of remnants from the sewing pile and a bolt of cotton ticking from the fabric store. The first true cold snap of autumn begs for the soft hug of a quilt. Wrap yourself in comfort.

Monday, October 11, 2010

drink it in

The grocery store is a treasure trove in October, full of treats like this Pumpkin Spice tea. The package is as sweet as an illustration from a children's book. The steam rising from your mug will have notes of misty morning in an apple orchard with a hint of Thanksgiving. Sip slowly. Drink in autumn.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

the boys of fall

We were raised against the backdrop of SEC football. In fact, my parents lived in married student housing at the University of Florida in 1966, when Steve Spurrier won the Heisman Trophy. I was too young to understand what was going on, but mom has told me how the campus went wild in an impromptu celebration, a throng running past our FlaVet apartments to the Gator pen where the mascot was kept. The crowd went wild yesterday in Columbia, SC, when Coach Spurrier's Gamecocks beat #1 ranked Alabama. The legacy and love of the game is really hard to explain, but Kenny Chesney captures it perfectly in The Boys of Fall. From pee wee to middle school, to high school, college and beyond - glory goes to anyone who suits up and plays.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

staying connected

I'm not good about picking up the phone and calling to say I've been thinking of you, even though I am. Maybe it's because my mind works better on the page than out loud, but there haven't exactly been a pile of personal letters posted from Croydon Road lately, either. Or, for that matter, many non work-related e-mails lobbed through technospace. Someone wise said to just forget all of the to-dos. They'll get done, knowing me, they always do. And focus instead on the way of going about all of the doing. Be in it. Keep the lines of communication clear. Stay in touch with self and beloved others. Connect.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

get your October on

It has taken a few days to get my October on, but it's slowly settling over things like a soft sweater in earthy fall colors, knitted by hand by someone who loves you very much. Like a chill that lingers in the morning, giving way to golden afternoons. Like the fragrance of nutmeg, cinnamon and ground cloves, a teaspoon of each, stirred into pumpkin bread batter with a wooden spoon. This month is a treat from beginning to sweet Halloween end. And, in between, hayrides, Homecoming, caramel apples and non-stop bobbing for happiness.
(Octoberama by Charley Harper, 1922-2007)