The nights are cooler, and the cat creeps onto the bed to purr beside your ear. The mornings are crisp and clean, and have a bite to them like a juicy Red Delicious. The humidity has lessened, and for the first time since summer began, you feel as though you can take a deep breath.
The light is changing, too. The sun that slants through the trees on your morning walk has a kind of golden tint as it illuminates the leaves. They are turning colors now, and falling to crunch underfoot, mingling their dry scent with the mulchy smell of the damp earth underneath. By the afternoon, the light is incandescent, and makes you want to blink sleepily in its beam like a lazy cat. The light spectrum will turn whiter as winter approaches. The trees will be naked and bare, the skies leaden with the promise of inclement weather. But for today, you have autumn.
Autumn is wood-smoke and pumpkin everything. It’s putting on a jacket in the morning and taking it off by noon. It’s buying hot chocolate for the first time since last winter and thinking about making sausage balls for Thanksgiving. It’s snuggling under a blanket beside the people and animals you love while reading a book. It’s the crackle and hiss of logs on the fire in the hearth. But it doesn’t last. This glorious time of year is so very brief. Before you know it, winter will be here.
I have a lot to do this week, next month, and before the end of the year. I’m both excited and nervous to be launching the next story in The Sixth Sense series from Dreamspinner Press. Walk a Mile is now available for pre-order and will be released October 3rd, which is when the Book Tour with Pride Promotions will begin as well. I still have blog posts to write, and need to set up the guest bloggers for the month of October here. I haven’t written a word on the WIP in weeks because I’ve been so busy launching this story, and I know that I should be working on the new project now. That’s just the writing side of things. I have several major end-of-year deadlines coming up as part of my Day Job and I can’t neglect these things or put them off until the last minute. So I have a lot on my To Do list today.
But here’s the thing. I had a choice this morning. I could either have taken the dog for a short walk by the house, where we would have met the bare requirements for getting a little exercise (and blowing the stink off of him so I can get some work done), or I could have taken the extra time to run out to the national forest and take a walk we’d both enjoy. I looked down at his graying muzzle, noting the cataracts in his eyes, and thought, “He is autumn. He is only here for a little while. If tomorrow was his last day on Earth, would you regret not having taken him out to the forest?”
I still have blog posts to write. I need to go to the grocery store or I will have nothing to eat this coming week and no time to go shopping for food. The list of things I need to do, the fears and concerns I have worrying me right now are a little like having rats in the walls of your house. You know you have a big problem and you know you need to deal with them, but you can’t get at them and that makes solving the rat problem tough. But that one decision made this morning opened the door to other thoughts, other considerations.
I have this one perfect day. This one ephemeral moment in time in which I can walk my dog. or ride my horse–or I can run errands and pound out blog posts that will hardly interest me, let alone someone else. This light won’t last forever. This glorious weather won’t last forever. And after all, isn’t that why we live? To be in the moment, to live it to its fullest? To bite into that apple and feel the juices trickle down your chin, even as you savor the sweetness of it?
I can write blog posts well into the night. I can take the dog with me and go grocery shopping after dark. But today, I’m going to throw the saddle in the back of the car and head out to the barn. Because I have that one perfect day today. And I’m going to make the most of it.