The Piper at the Gates of Dawn


This morning a great blue heron flew over my head as I walked down the hill to feed the horses, just as the sun rose over the ridge. My husband managed to capture the moment in a photo. For me it is magic, the magic that surrounds me here and inspires me to write. The same magic that Ratty and Moley felt as they listened to the piper at the gates of dawn.


Those who have read Wind in the Willows (one of my favorite books) will get this reference. For me, pipers will always be symbols of magic.


My husband (in the photo above) is a piper. He’s also a photographer and a gardener and an artist. He traveled the world as a young man for ten years, earning his own way through Europe, Asia, Indonesia and Australia. He studied under the senior tutor of the Dali Llama, taught martial arts, worked as a gardener for the governor of Australia, and spent six months in jail in Bali. He went to work as a minimum-wage laborer in an agricultural business in California and became one of the highest paid managers in a company that employs hundreds of people. He raced bicycles and fought in the ring against all comers. He’s an excellent cook and has been the breeder of many lovely varieties of tuberous begonias, as well as driven a race car at Laguna Seca. He grew up swimming in the lakes of Michigan and still never misses a chance to take a dip in a body of natural water, including body surfing the waves of the Pacific Ocean near our home. Not to mention he’s a wonderful husband and father.


Can you tell this man has inspired me? Yes, its true. The character of Blue Winter in my mystery series is based pretty much verbatim on my fascinating husband, who plays the bagpipes every evening here at our home. As the wild, magical notes float over the ridge and the autumn sun sinks behind the pine trees, I realize how lucky I am. I don’t read about fictional heroes and wish I had one. I create my fictional love interest in the image of the most interesting and delightful man I know—the man I live with and the father of my child. What an amazing gift.

Our current autumn flower arrangement–created by Andy from our garden. Broccoli leaves and wild grapes. My last four novels, done with Perseverance Press, have focused on my attempt to capture this particular magic in words. I’m not sure how well I did–perhaps those who have read them can pronounce. Happy Fall!


4 Responses

  1. This is the most beautiful tribute to a man that I’ve ever read. You are indeed a lucky woman. But judging from this, it’s clear that your husband is lucky as well. I’ll look forward to reading your series.

  2. Thank you, Nancy. I really appreciate your very sweet comment. And I hope you enjoy my mystery series. I have to warn you that my protagonist is involved with a different man for the first four books of the series (Cutter, Hoofprints, Roughstock and Roped). She meets “Blue Winter” in book #5 (Slickrock) and their romance, uhmm, blossoms in books #6 through #8 (Breakaway, Hayburner and Forged). The last four books in the series (Moonblind, Chasing Cans, Going Gone and Barnstorming)–the ones I did with Perseverance Press–are the books where I try to capture the magic of being married to a wonderful man.

  3. What Nancy said. You are lucky to have him, and vice versa. I’d be jealous, except I’m married to another exceptional man. I love the autumn arrangement.

  4. Thanks Nikki. I love the arrangement, too.

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