Though Friday is officially this year’s first day of Fall, here in the mountains of Western North Carolina it’s arrived early: bringing with it cooler temperatures, chilly rain, tulip poplars already yellowing, and, in our family, the annual advance into the attic.
Our house, a small bungalow-type with a random 1950s addition, was built in either 1948 or 1949, and our attic is a walk-up: albeit, precarious and musty, but still a generous space–which in our case means plenty of room for a multiplying assortment of plastic bins. Last winter, our fifth as a married couple in the mountains, my husband trekked into said attic and in a move of sheer valiance (and desperation) spent several weeks laying out insulation. (Our sweet house lacks insulation in the walls, in the attic, in the floors, and we keep it COLD.) The arrival of our daughter insisted we warm things up a bit. Honestly, it gets old seeing your breath crystallize before your face as you huddle in your bed beneath sheets, a fleece blanket, and a corduroy quilt the width and depth of Texas. So stay posted, this winter, to see how we fare. Ha.
Last week, I made the first journey into the attic for the winter clothes. This is an inaugural trip, and I look forward to it. I love digging through my favorite fleece jackets, winter boots, toboggan hats and scarves; love shaking out my favorite pair of corduroys, my plaid flannel shirts I’ve hung onto since the grungy ’90s. Despite the dusty, musty smell, and the knowledge that I’ve got several loads of laundry to do and an insurgence to launch against the summer clothes occupying my closet, this ritual is a precursor to my absolute favorite time of year. Once I’ve done this, Fall may just be a little bit closer. (Two other rituals of the cinematic type include watching Runaway Bride–who doesn’t love rural Maryland in Autumn, small-town shenanigans, and a little Julia Roberts/Richard Gere action?–and also pulling out my complete seasons of the Gilmore Girls. For some reason, I’m hooked on cool-weather settings, small towns, and witty dialogue. For some reason, it makes me feel like Fall.)
Moving along. This time of year, things are in a flurry. There are my classes to be taught (if you saw the state of my desk, and the stacks of papers to be graded–by tomorrow–you’d wrinkle your nose in disgust), my daughter to get squared away at preschool, my house to be cleaned and dusted and prepared for closed windows and heat, a lot of football to be watched, a website to be created (for my novel, Keowee Valley, forthcoming from Bell Bridge Books in Fall 2012… cough), writing–any writing–to be done, a yard to be cleaned and a wilting summer garden to be cleared, and a decidedly insane (though inspired) journey back to graduate school–and all the work this entails–for which to be prepared. I’ve also got to actually pay attention to my husband. Really. The man gets lost in the shuffle, and though he’s understanding about it, I’d like to remedy that.
In the midst of the flurry, I am determined to live deliberately. To embrace the chaos. To become adept at my many roles. I swear it: the attempt will be worthy.
In other news, I’m still doing the happy dance (even in public) about my novel being published by BelleBooks/Bell Bridge Books in Fall of next year. The official title: Keowee Valley. My official “author name”: Katherine Scott Crawford. (Which is my real name, by the way. Really.) Currently, I’m working on the author/novel website and on building social media with two friends, high school buddies who are web designing and PR pros. My husband, a marketing guy, is set to be guru. I’m hoping to have these things–web site, Facebook site, etc–up and running by the end of this year. Then, in January, editing should begin on my novel, and I couldn’t be more excited and ready for, and open to, the entire process.
In the meantime, I’m looking for advice for managing the chaos, embracing the moment, and enjoying Fall to the fullest. On the menu: cooking black bean chili later today, heading to Death Valley to watch Clemson play (and hopefully, whup up on–sorry, Seminole fans) Florida State on Saturday, grading essays while possibly enjoying some Gere/Roberts repartee (don’t tell my students), and apple-picking at a local orchard with family and friends, later in the month.
What are your big plans for the Fall? Here is my dog’s plan: