I spent last week on the road attending a science conference in Madison, Wisconsin as part of my day job. Madison is a beautiful city with huge stone edifices for building and a green ethic that is visible on every street corner—recycle bins right next to every trash can and I swear three-quarters of all the cabs I saw were hybrids.
I enjoyed my trip and returned home on Friday to autumn. When I left home, the trees were still green, but when I was out and about yesterday, I noticed all the autumn colors lining the road—gold and crimson, rust and apricot, all mixed with multiple shades of green and brown and muted in a damp light pushing its way through thick clouds. It’s been over twenty years since I’ve lived in a place that experienced anything close to a real winter, so it surprised me. A pleasant surprise, certainly, but a surprise none-the-less.
In another sign that winter is coming, I spent yesterday harvesting and cleaning up the garden. We harvested nine beautiful acorn squash before removing the plant. The beans were also finished and the tomatoes nearly so. The winter plants—broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale—were mostly doing well, and we’ll soon have to put up the hoops to protect the spinach, carrots and lettuce. We don’t really know what we’re doing, but we’re learning as we go, and hopefully we’ll get a few vegetables come December or January.
I’m looking forward to my first winter in a longtime. I’ve got the fireplace ready and plenty of hot chocolate stashed in the cupboard. The short days should be good for writing because I won’t have the distraction of things to do outside. My novel edits are coming along, slowly. I’m nearing the one-third point, and I’m happy with the results so far. As the days get short, I hope I can pick up the pace.