AUMTUMN IN THE MOUNTAINS

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Santeetlah Gap – Cherohala Skyway, Smoky Mountains, on October 25, 2016

We took a drive on the Cherohala Skyway last week. We hoped to catch the colors at their peak. The trip on the Skyway is always interesting, but the colors didn’t quite match our expectations. A dry summer with record-breaking temperatures must have stymied the production of color. The areas that were in color seemed muted and exhausted. And at the peak of the Skyway, the leaves were all gone. We were driving along, stopping at many of the pull off spots to search for bits of color, when suddenly, we reached 5,000 feet in elevation and the trees were bare as if it was winter already.

Still, we enjoyed taking a few detours, even though the creeks and waterfalls barely flowed. We picnicked on Citico Creek, about five miles down from the Skyway. Citico is a former Cherokee community that was destroyed when the Little Tennessee River was dammed. Now Tellico Lake covers the former community. We managed to find a secluded spot. The Skyway had become crowded with other color seekers, so we left them up on the Skyway.

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Later, after coming down off the peak of the Skyway, the colors returned on the Tennessee side.

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Beautiful day with my hubby that still lingers in our memory as we prepare to begin the next phase of our new life. We’re Florida bound for six months, but the Smoky Mountains remain in our hearts.

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Happy fall! I hope you’re enjoying the season. May the color of your life always be bright and filled with life. ❤

 

A WRITING RETREAT

Office at CabinIt began three weeks ago, this self-imposed writer’s retreat for one. It’s something I’ve dreamed about for years. Time alone, during which I would write and create astounding stories.

Alas, when the time came for me to be alone in the mountains, other things crowded my plate. Editing jobs for others, marketing of my books, and organizing the new home. Writing once again took the shortest piece of the straw. But I organized the new office, and I’m comfortable.

Then this week, when I realized my time for the writer’s retreat could be counted in days and not weeks, I developed a schedule and managed to write 6,000 words on a new manuscript, but it wasn’t anywhere near the goal I’d set. Then I got sick. Momentum gone.

I’m down to my final four days of my alone time, and I need to push forward. My mind doesn’t sit down for the tasks I need want to complete. So here it is, one-thirty in the morning, and I can’t sleep. So I laid down 1,000 words. I have no idea if they are words worthy of the new book. But they are words–imagines and thoughts of my characters–jumbled out of my head onto the computer screen.

ColorCabinWhat I want to do requires more stamina than I find I have right now. Instead, I want to stare at the trees on the mountainside turning first yellow, then scarlet, and then the softer muted tones of red and orange. It’s been quite a show. Those moments of silence staring at the landscape or gazing at the stars in a sky not clouded with city lights bring peace.

Six novels await creation. Perhaps they can wait just a little longer.

I still have four days with an organized office, editing jobs completed for now, and rain on its way, keeping me inside. The long-anticipated writer’s retreat shall begin, unless the rain stops and more leaves turn red or yellow.

Happy Halloween, autumn, and October. And be forewarned, when dreams turn to reality, something else just might occur instead.???????????????

Falling into Autumn

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Ohio River

Sometime in the coming days, we must do the one activity that marks the end of a season. It’s not necessarily a season on the calendar, but it’s one that exists in my head. The day we pull our boat out of the river and haul it to Dockside boat yard means that winter lurks around the bends in the frozen landscapes in my head. The boat will be washed and winterized and ready for the tarps that will keep the snow off it for the next five months or so.

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Beaver River

It’s sad. The only consolation are these final days of boating on the Beaver and Ohio rivers as the palette of colors on the trees create paintings lush in yellows, oranges, greens and reds.

We took one of our last cruises late yesterday afternoon. The temperature hit 69 degrees, and Robert said, “Let’s stop working and get the boat out.” I thought he was nuts–for about two seconds–and then I jumped up from my computer where I’d spent most of my life for the past seven days as I finished formatting and editing my new novel.

We headed out with sweatshirts in tow and enjoyed the entire river to ourselves. Not many folks go out on a Wednesday afternoon in mid-October for a boat ride. We saw one lone fisherman and a coal barge on the water. We saw an abundance of color and basked in the glow of the slowly descending sun.DSC03395

Now we play with the calendar. The boat should be out of its slip by November 1. We watch the weather. We try to gauge whether we’ll have one more weekend day in which to enjoy the peek of the colors. Two years ago we waited one day too long. We were getting the aftermath of Irene’s trip up the east coast, but the weather forecasters predicted the rains and winds wouldn’t be in Pittsburgh until Sunday. By Friday afternoon, the winds began, and we barely got the boat into the ramp. And we wouldn’t but for the kind help of one of our fellow boaters who’d been fooled like us into thinking the weather would last for a few more days.DSC03388

Happy fall! How are the colors in your area?

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