As that first hint of crisp, fall air stealthily drifts into the atmosphere, coupled with the wayward scent of kindling from fireplaces, long dormant, initiated for the season, it inspires a multitude of feelings, emotions, and attitudes. I live in the California Bay Area, and fall usually gently settles upon us in mid-October. Autumn is one of the nicest, most temperate times of year here, and inspires the impulse to set out to the local pumpkin patch and track down the perfect pumpkin.
Or to take a meandering drive through the wine country to soak in the brilliant fall colors on the vines and trees.
For others, this time of year is a harbinger of the long winter to come, which may inspire nothing but the dread of snowstorms and shoveling sidewalks and driveways.
I have always been intrigued by inspiration and its many forms, including inspiration in writing, as well as what inspires or motivates us in our daily lives. Why is it that the first feeling of fall inspires some of us to cuddle up with a good book in front of the fire while sipping hot, mulled cider? Or for the writers among us, to plot an eerie tale about vampires, ghosts, or serial killers? To start assembling the most original or frightful Halloween costume yet? To order a pumpkin spiced latte at the coffee shop, or maybe a pumpkin ale at the local brewery? Or to start planning our Thanksgiving menus, with visions of fresh butternut squash and sweet potatoes from the farmer's market dancing in our heads? Or finally, as my husband reminds me, to camp out in front of the TV with a platter of nachos to cheer on our favorite football teams?
These seasonal rituals allow us a chance to break from the norm, enjoy or anticipate something different, and to connect with our family, friends, and community. My husband loves to carve a pumpkin and sit outside on Halloween night with a bowl full of candy to greet the trick-or-treaters and compliment them on their costumes -- and don't forget football. I’m usually inspired to cook a fat, juicy turkey with my brother to share with the family on Thanksgiving. And, of course, reading a good book by the fire is a given. My pick would be a mystery.
And it looks like it's not just us humans who are inspired by the fire!
My usual inspirations are largely muted this year, since a huge influence in my life, my beautiful mother, left this mortal coil behind on Thanksgiving last year. As I move forward through this fall, however, I will try to keep in mind one of her biggest inspirations - the holiday season, when she loved nothing more than to share with and be surrounded by her family.
What does the autumn season inspire in you? Leave a Comment below, and you will be entered to win a free e-copy of Nine Deadly Lives: An Anthology of Feline Fiction, for some cozy, fall reading by the hearth! This enchanting anthology contains 13 cat tales of magic, mystery, fantasy, and romance. I will draw a name from the commenters and notify the winner.
Li'l Tom and the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau: The Case of the Parrots Desaparecidos, by one of her favorite areas in San Francisco, Telegraph Hill. To learn more, visit her on Facebook and Amazon.