It’s ‘frost on the pumpkin’ season! Time to prepare…

"Frost on the Pumpkin season"

“Frost on the Pumpkin season” (see link at the bottom!)

Many, many years ago, my very best friend in the world took my children and me camping at a place called ‘Jellystone Park’, in Massachusettes. She had a little, tiny travel trailer, complete with miniature propane stove and heater, which slept six, if you included the available floor space! It was only a week past the end of summer, but you could tell by the quality of the sunlight and the changes in wildlife – both the flora and the fauna – that autumn was about to burst forth.

That first night, we all gathered around a campfire, just like all the other campers, and roasted our hotdogs and marshmellows, whilst “oooh’ing” and “ahhhh’ing” about the vast array of stars showing the path of the Milky Way in the velvety night sky. We all went to bed, replete with our typical campers fare of food, and a peace that can only be had in the realization that God is in His heaven and that, for now at least, all is right with the world. The lot of us slept deeply and well.

Susan was the first to arise the next morning, before the sun even had the chance to begin to blanch the sky and extinguish the stars. I awoke to the scent of “cowboy coffee” as the vapours followed her into the camper when she, ever so quietly, tiptoed in to wake me. She was raising her nephew and, of course, I was always surrounded by children, so we took advantage of the opportunity to just be two adults, having a grown-up conversation, with nothing but the peaceful, near silence, of nature to keep us company.

When I stepped out of the trailer, I was greeted with a fairyland sight. During the night, the temperature had dropped considerably, and apparently quickly, and the last vestiges of last night’s moon shone on a sparkly landcape. The tiniest of ice crystals clung to everything, from the needles on the pine tree behind our temporary home, to the bark of the birch stand, just there to the right…and even the vapour of our exhaled breath twinkled in that soft moonglow, spreading out and disappearing somewhere beyond, like stars winking out.

I stood like a statue, taking in the beauty around me, from the softness of the grass at my feet, still apparent through the crunchy frost, to the glittering moisture released from our noses and mouths and those trees, looking like a colony of fairies had taken flight amongst the branches – and then on upward, to the breathtaking diamonds in the midnight blue sky – some of those diamonds flashing across the heavens in the brilliant display of a meteor shower.

It was breathtaking. Awe inspiring. Humbling.

And freaking cold!!

We built up the fire from the slumbering coals we had banked the night before, and soon a cheerful blaze joined the sun in lighting up our little campsite. As I inched closer to the flames to warm myself, I caught Susan grinning at me.

“What?” I asked her, already responding to her contagious glee with a smile of my own.

“Today’s language lesson,” she replied, her voice vibrating with humour (because we were both aware that I constantly speak in flowers; so what could she have to teach me about language?!).

“Ummm…okay. So what will you be teaching me on this fine, cold morning?”

“Do you know what today is?” she asked, then grinned a bit bigger as I scrunched up my face, trying to read the calendar that I keep in my mind’s eye.

“I got nuthin’,” I replied. “Enlighten me.”

Susan stood up, stretched and gestured expansively around us, then pointed to something on the ground. It was a pumpkin that the campground staff gives every camper to carve as a jack-o-lantern during their autumnal vacations. This, too, glinted with a thin sheen of ice crystals in the dawn light. She turned back to me, the joviality on her face replaced with that peaceful look we all wore the night before.

“Today is the first day of “Frost on the Pumpkin” season…the first sign that winter is just around the corner. It’s time to take a deep breath and prepare for the end of another year.”

This time I not only gazed about me at the fairytale landscape, I also took a moment to close my eyes, breathe deeply through nose and mouth and make a memory. “Frost on the Pumpkin season.” I opened my eyes to find Susan in the same meditative pose. She opened her eyes a moment later and we shared a smile. My best friend – the sister of my heart – and we both breathed the same thing, in an identical instant:

“I can taste winter on my tongue.”

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[† “Cowboy coffee” is made by heating coarse grounds with water in a pot, letting the grounds settle and pouring off the liquid to drink]

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With “Frost on the Pumpkin” season upon us (and as a Pier 1 Affiliate) I thought I’d share a couple of the beautiful decorations for which Pier 1 Imports has specials going on for the next few days.

[see: Affiliate Disclosure]

 

5% Off Regular Priced Purchases This Weekend Only with Code 15OFF or 20% Off When You Apply for the Pier 1 Rewards Credit Card with Code 20FORME, valid 9/29 – 10/2

20% off Wreaths, Wreath Hangers & Garlands at Pier 1 Imports, valid 8/28 – 10/1



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Thoughts & Inspiration – God, Bob Ross & Roger Moore

"Happy little clouds"!

“Happy little clouds”!

My husband got into an accident a few days ago and wound up with five fractured ribs. While this may have been great inspiration for the writer of a medical novel, it better suited me to take a few days off from writing. So I  spent this week contemplating life, art, God, writing and Roger Moore, poet 😏

Now, the day after hubby got busted up, I took a walk to the corner store, about 3/4 mile away. I’ve not spent much time outside lately because of a nagging, sometimes debilitating health issue, so I was really soaking up the sun and fresh air on my way there. The sky was beautiful behind the various types of clouds floating around, and the sun was wonderfully brilliant, though it hurt my eyes even with my ‘blu-blocker’ sunglasses on.

Nature is beautiful; regardless of 97° heat and humidity, it never ceases to be awe inspiring. The slight whooshing sound as a breeze travels through a stand of Australian pine, cicadas singing so loudly that you can barely hear yourself think, watching the changing shapes of the clouds looming over the tree tops and the rainbow colours that appear where the clouds drift in front of the sun…well, let’s face it – God is indeed the Master Artist.

On my way back home, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the sky. With the sun at my back, it was much easier to study all those wonderful, blooming, bright white clouds that were slowly mixing with the angry looking storm clouds heading in from the west. Iridescent pastels and golds never disappear, even when they are overlaid with a myriad of values of grey.

Who hasn’t looked at clouds and seen pictures! I saw a porcupine, a pig, a woman’s head with one of those Greek  goddess style upswept hair-do’s and at the top of a particularly spectacular configuration, I even saw a replica of one of those huge statues of Christ the Redeemer, like the one in the Andes Mountains, between Argentina and Chile, just south of Mt. Aconcagua (nearly the same as the one we’ve seen on television during this year’s Olympics in Brazil). I mean, watching these clouds billow into forms just made me smile.

They seemed like such happy little clouds…hmmm.

Does anyone remember Bob Ross? He was a wonderful artist, well known even to this day because of his decade long television series, “The Joy of Painting”. He was then, and still is today (although he passed away from cancer many decades ago), famous for adding, as he put it, “happy little clouds” and “happy little trees” to his paintings (Melody Sheep/PBS did a music mix, “Bob Ross: Happy Little Clouds” here). Studying the sky that day, a random, perhaps nonsensical, thought occurred to me that God was ready for another assistant to share His status as Master Artist, so He invited Bob Ross to join his wife in heaven, just so we might all still be able to enjoy his happy little clouds!

I seem to be able to find inspiration in abundance, through my own thoughts and memories or by sheer chance…like when I’m “introduced” to people via social media or through my blog here. Sometimes it’s because of personal interaction with others, sometimes it’s because I have been touched by another’s writing.

My most recent ‘for instance’ was day before yesterday when I really spent time reading the works of contemporary poet, Roger Moore (no, not the erstwhile “007” – – – the other Roger Moore!). I was so entranced that I Googled him and wound up reading far more than he shares on his blog. In fact, I found myself so engrossed in his short stories, prose and poetry that before I knew it, I had spent 3 hours in the the company of his work…and gained much inspiration for my book(s).

Now, Roger Moore, art, ‘happy little clouds’, memories and God are not the only places I find inspiration. I don’t just follow bloggers, tweeters and posters…I read what you all write. I have found that my time on the internet would be very dull without you!

Time…

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Time.

We are conceived. We are born. We live…then we die.

Linear.

This seems to be an established fact. But is it? What are facts, but once-upon-a-time theories. ‘The world is flat”. That was a ‘fact’, too, until someone proved differently. ‘The sun travels across the sky as it orbits the earth’…another ‘fact’, until it was proven otherwise.

It really didn’t take all that long for mankind to realize that much of what he believed about life was based on theory, rather than ‘fact’. And science is proving, or disproving, facts and theories every single day.

So why is it so difficult to believe that the only things we “know” about Time, might, as yet, simply be accepted theory?

Stories about time and space, whether as a fantasy, or as related in a textbook as an example, have always fascinated me. But when you combine time, space, myth, faith-based belief, fantasy AND physics into one story…now, that’s the stuff of a good book…if, of course, that’s a genre that interests you.

In “Folded Dreams” (the follow-up novel to ‘Folded Dreams – the Beginning’), all of these elements (plus a bit of theory regarding the neurological aspects of the brain’s potential) are represented…with a lot of poetic license taken…(ahem…) hence, the designation of ‘fiction’.

In this book, an inter-changeability of time and space, the wide ranging beliefs regarding the spirit, its origin and state of “be-ing”, seemingly…and actual…paranormal and extraterrestrial visitations, ‘claire’ gifts, and out-of-body/near-death experiences, all come together to form a really good reading experience, or so I’ve been told (honestly, even I like it, and I’m my own worst critic!).

On Folded Dreams, Waking Up Dead…because Mama always said, “I wish you’d stop being so morbid.”

If you have read “Folded Dreams – the Beginning”, you will have seen those words. That’s because the protagonist, “The Child”, and “Mother” are loosely based on me and my own mother. I suppose Mama would consider my unusual interest in death and the ‘hereafter’ from such a young and tender age, as being morbid. After all, children should be all about life and the future and giving their parents a hard time, right?

Mama was more full of life than most people I’ve ever known. She was filled to the brim with passion…her smiles and laughter were a joy to behold and could tame the most angry beast that could take up residence in a person’s heart…and her indignant, righteous rages (for 99% of her blow-ups were due to righteous wrath) could still the heart of a murderer and make him run for the nearest church, recognizing a dire and immediate need for sanctuary!

It was not until the year before she passed away that I found out Mama had her own particular spiritual belief system, regardless of what her church taught. Oh, she was a true believer…a true Christian…one of those few, rare souls who actually strove to live the way Christ taught, even in the face of the cruelties, meanness of spirit and spitefulness of mankind. But even though she respected and honoured her denomination, in her heart she also had her own understanding of the deepest mysteries of life.

I would not have known this, except that we had a very short conversation about the…odd things…that I had witnessed in my nearly half century (at the time) of life. In one indirect sentence, she told me that she hadn’t really thought I was as strange as she had led me to believe, all those years. She didn’t say, “I do wish you’d stop being so melodramatic and morbid. Why must you always be so  facetious?” No, during this conversation…one of the last we ever had…she merely clicked her tongue, cocked her head sideways and said, “Stranger things have happened to more people than you could ever know….to people you would never imagine.”

I think that writing the “Folded Dreams…” books (and basing “Mother” on her), and “Waking Up Dead!”, is my way of thanking Mama for finally letting me know that ‘pooh poohing’ my oddities as a child was simply her way of protecting me from a world that wouldn’t understand, and rarely acknowledges that there is more to life than those things that are visible. It made it much easier to let her go, once I knew we held the same faith.

(Thanks, Anne, for nudging my memories…)