I love autumn. And it’s not just because of the changing colors or the first chill in the air. It’s all about the joy of settling down, becoming quiet, becoming still. It heralds in that special time – that time between September and March – when I give myself permission to not have to be out and about, doing a million things or be at a dozen different places in a day.  The only exception to that self-imposed rule is the month of December, which, I’m sure, I need not explain why.  Otherwise, come September, my participation in “things” can begin to fade and drop down – just like autumn leaves.

During the summer, I get very involved – too involved – with club activities, events, and people. Living in the mountains, we know that the “doing” season doesn’t last all that long, and so we cram as much in as is humanly possible between the months of March through September, before the blessed “down” time arrives.

March, however, is a wishy-washy month. You just never know what it’s going to give you. And being a Capricorn, I prefer that you definitely know how you feel about things, what you’re planning on doing, and how you’re going to go about doing them. I’m not too fond of March’s attitude and behavior, if the truth be known.

My husband loves to garden, so this time of year, although beautiful to him (not to mention we’re both glad that football season has started), also marks the beginning of the end of his growing season, “fun in the sun” season, and golf. That is the only fly in the ointment to me; the fact that my husband won’t be outside and out from under my feet as much. When the cold winds blow, he comes inside, just like the ladybugs. I’ve tried to get my husband involved in a hobby, namely pottery making, and though he had great potential, he just couldn’t stop thinking about next year’s garden and staring out the window. His mind wasn’t on pots but potatoes. Ah, well, you can lead a horse to water… The saving grace was the tractor I bought for him several years ago, complete with snow-blade. Now, when the white stuff accumulates, he gets out and clears the roads. Which gives us both a chance to clear our heads.

When the smoke is curling from old cabins’ fireplaces, and the fog swirls and mingles with it in a beautiful early morning dance, I grab Mama’s old olive-green sweater and stand out on my deck appreciating it. I play a game of looking for new colored leaves that have changed overnight, and I listen as the squirrels squabble over chestnuts and walnuts in my thick woods. Before long, the leaves will intertwine with the smoke and fog, then they’ll fall gently to the ground and create a magnificent carpet of color. Ahhhh. Who doesn’t love that? All things considered, it was a good “doing” time. I got a lot accomplished. But now it’s the start of that other time.  Out on my deck, I sip the remainder of coffee in my oversized mug, and then go inside to close out the world. Once I do, I step into another world that’s all my own, a world in which I control the board like a chess match: I begin to write.

 

Taken from my log cabin’s porch in the Blue Ridge Mountains, NC.

 

In the earliest days of the last century, a Florida family strives to build a legacy in the burgeoning new city of Miami . . .

In South Florida, a region that offers some of life’s richest beauty as well as some of its harshest conditions, a city is rising. Eve and Max Harjo moved to Miami after the great freeze of 1894 wiped out their citrus grove. Eve is busy writing for the Miami Metropolis, Miami’s first newspaper, while Max salvages the ships that fall victim to Florida’s dangerous reefs and violent storms.

Their nineteen-year-old daughter Eliza dives to bring up the salvaged treasures, uncaring that it is hardly woman’s work. And her stubborn determination to educate local Seminoles—male and female—draws the ire of the tribe’s chief. But Eliza’s greatest conflict will be choosing between two men: a brilliant inventor working on the prototype for a new motorboat, and a handsome lighthouse keeper from the northwest. When a massive storm unleashes its fury on South Florida, it reveals people’s truest characters and deepest secrets, changing lives as drastically as it changes the coastal landscape . . .