Fall, Beginning Again

Lea Wait, here. And today is the first full day of Fall. Or Autumn. Or (in my part of the world, northern New England) Leaf Peeping Season.

This past summer was much warmer than usual here, and, although we tried not to complain (with visions of last winter’s record snowfall in our collective brains,) temperatures in the 80s and humidity almost to match, although considered comfortable in many parts of the country, were difficult to deal with in a world where fans, not air conditioners, are the norm for warm days in all but the newest buildings. Since my house was built in 1774, we depend on open windows for our cool air, and when nature doesn’t provide … we drink a lot of iced water.

So, fall is most welcome. The summer tourists, most of them families with children, have left. Our current visitors from away are what many here call (quietly) “the newly wed and the nearly dead.”  People for whom back-to-school only means having to brake for school buses. For many Maine stores and restaurants and motels, it also means people who have more cash to spend on themselves, on their homes, and on gifts for others. (Christmas can be a year-round season in galleries and craft shops.)

As a writer, I’m glad I have a book with “Maine Christmas ” in the title; local book stores are stocking it.

People who visit Maine in the summer may think life here stops at Labor Day, but, instead, in many ways it speeds up then. Of courses, schools and all their activities are back in force, from kindergartens to high school  to colleges to adult education.  Other organizations start planning their fall activities.  Last weekend I was part of a mystery writers’ conference in Bar Harbor, and tomorrow night will speak at a library in Rangeley. Later this week I’ll do a signing at a bookstore in Bath. And in October there’s a children’s literature conference, and a craft festival I’ve been invited to be part of, and by November, besides Crime Bake, a major mystery conference in the northeast, I’ll be signings at galleries and antique malls, hoping to attract book buyers to get their Christmas gifts early.

And – oh, yes. There are new books to be written.

The colors of trees along roads and rivers are getting more dramatic every day. They’re beautiful, and tempt me to stop, and exclaim, and inhale and relax. In many ways, this is the best part  of Maine’s year: neither too hot nor too cold; visitors in smaller, quieter, numbers; and time to prepare for what we know will be coming.

By the end of November it will be time to hunker down, put wood in the woodstove, and enjoy the books and movies we missed during the rest of the year.

But, for now, I’ll just enjoy the seasonal colors. The calm before the storms.

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