Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Bittersweet Days of Fall - & a Book Giveway!

By Glenys O'Connell

Ah, November. To me, this time of year is always bittersweet. Dramatic sunsets light up the skies like the last remnants of summer's fiery beauty.There is the beauty of the trees – in my area of Ontario, Canada, the forests are thick, the tree species varied. By now they've gone from forty shades of green to vivid reds, golds, russets and lime greens standing like exotic beauties against the sober deep greens of pines and cedars.
Bare rocks, stripped of their summer ornaments of moss and lichens, now appear ancient and regal, denizens of a historic world that was here before mankind, and will be here after we are all long gone.
Our tiny village pond is a stopping off place where migrating ducks enjoy a few days before taking off again on their southern journey. As I drive the country roads, the skies are filled with Canada geese, huge flocks soaring and dipping through the air to land in autumn dark fields to graze, preparing for their long journey to warmer climes.
The sight of the geese always leaves me melancholy.
Their excitement is palpable; they honk and preen, sometimes taking flight in synchronized dances as they ride the spirals of the air currents until, tiring of the game, they float back down to earth.
Their presence tugs at my heart strings. Do these beautiful creatures, in common with all their smaller feathered friends who flee our bitter winters, understand just how dangerous their journeys will be? In their joy of flight and movement, do they realize that the world is full of dangers? There are bitter winds, icy snowstorms, hunger, and death waiting, there are culls and hunters and accidental entanglements with the artifacts of human existence that litter their paths.
I want to stamp on my brakes, leap from the car across the frost-laced hedgerows and gather up these creatures of the air, hug them and keep them safe.
But not without self interest – for we know that when the geese leave, winter's snows will follow. If we could keep them home, could we thwart Old Man Winter's icy forward march?
Sometimes their act of leaving, their joy, seems like a betrayal to those of us left behind to deal with snow and ice and bitter winds.
Yet I know that, once the year turns, many of us will stop in our daily routines and keep silence, hoping to hear the first honking of the returning geese, and scan the skies squinting against the growing light in hopes of seeing the first v-shaped flocks coming home.
Because with their return, the old earth will halt her inexorable slide into cold and death, and warmth and light will return.
Safe journey, feathered friends!

To help keep a lucky reader warm this winter, I'm offering a free autographed print copy of my Canadian romantic suspense, Judgement By Fire! All you have to do is leave an interesting comment about how you survive winter, and I'll pick the one I like best and voila! The book will be in the mail!

 Glenys O'Connell will be hunkered down in her drafty century old farmhouse this winter, writing murder mysteries and romance stories to keep herself warm. She denies the rumors that sometimes she stands outside on the lane and yells "Traitors!" at flocks of departing geese. After all, that would be a crazy thing to do, yes? You can read excerpts of her work on her webpage here


Barbara Edwards said...

Your area sounds like a wonderful place to visit. The geese migrate past here, too. The sight of their vee formation always makes me want to follow them. Good luck with your book.

Jannine Gallant said...

How do I survive winter? I strap on my snowshoes and take my dog into the forest around our house. There's nothing more beautiful than fresh snow coating every tree beneath a cold blue winter sky.

Love your cover, Glenys!

Colleen Connally said...

It's hard to think about winter on such a beautiful day today. It hit 70! But winter's is coming. What better way to spend a winter's day than snuggled up with a good book. Judgement of Fire looks just like a book that would warm you up!

Victoria Roder said...

Chocolate, lots of chocolate helps me survive winter. Hot chocolate by a warm fire would be my first choice!


Alison Henderson said...

Glenys, I live in suburban Minneapolis, but we have a pond at the end of our street full of migrating geese and several varieties of ducks. I always hate to see it ice over - it means we've seen the last of the waterfowl for months. This year we plan to survive winter by taking our first-ever January vacation to our new getaway in Carmel.

Kerry Schafer said...

Winter Survival: lots of woodfires to fend off the chill, cat in the lap for comfort, candles in the window against the dark, breathing in deeply the clear cold air, remembering to appreciate the diamond glitter of the snow in the sunlight. Oh, and hot buttered rum when it all gets too dark and too cold.

Mackenzie Crowne said...

First, awesome cover, Glenys. Crisp and compelling.

Second, I see some of those Canadian geese here in Phoenix. They fly by, heading to more accommodating climes. Winters here are spectacular, but don't tell your birds or anyone else. We have far too many snow birds as it is.

But keep in mind, once your birds head home, honking as they pass over my house, you are enjoying your refreshing summer, while I am dealing with forty plus days of 118 Celsius, rattlesnakes, and Gila monsters.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or so they say. We may not have your beautiful geese, but we have no need of snow shovels. :-)

Viola Russell said...

I live in New Orleans, and I'd love more cold weather. Our weather jumps from hot to cold within a day, and we have only a few days of cold. For me, hot chocolate is the best way to survive cold.

Margaret Tanner said...

Wow Glenys,
What a vivid picture you have painted of the Canadian countryside. Sounds beautiful. I have always wanted to visit there.



Nancy Jardine Author said...

Lovely description, Glenys. Scottish winters are variable- sometimes snow lasts a few days. Early Jan 2010 my family and I returned from a road trip holiday-San Fransisco to Vancouver-having packed heavy snow gear. We hardly needed it! Came home to find Aberdeenshire had been blanketed in deep frozen snow for the whole 3 weeks we'd been on holiday! Frozen pipes, power lines down, we had to fix the lot...wearing the gear we thought we'd need in Canada! What FUN.

Lynne Marshall said...

Dear Glenys, what beautiful prose! I loved this blog. I can't remember which book it was but James Michner (SP) in Chesapeake who wrote a wonderful section on the flight of the geese in the POV of the lead goose. It was wonderful, and yes, an often deadly journey.
I live in Southern California, so I don't have winter worries, however the shift in daylight savings with darkness creeping in earlier and earlier always affects me. Last night I did a mini hibernation, without any sleep aids, went to bed at 8 pm and slept all the way through until 7 a.m. That doesn't happen very often for this usual insomniac.

Katherine said...

Your post describes exactly how I feel when I see the geese flying off in the distance, hoping winter will not come too soon. And then in the spring, I too stop and watch the geese coming back and feel a lightness in my heart knowing Old Man Winter is preparing to move on and let Spring take his place.

Literary Chanteuse said...

Well this sounds interesting. I will be surviving my Canadian winter with cranking up my furnace and extra cuddling with Hubby and the kids!


Patti P said...

Hi, After moving to Chicago years ago I have found ways to keep warm. When the hubby (aka the furnace) isn't around I snuggle up with my dog, a book and a cup of hot chocolate or tea. That is the best I've come up with so far.
musicalfrog at comcast.net