Crazy Fall Love


I’ve always loved fall. After August heat, it’s nice to feel cooler air on my skin.

Out here in the Pacific Northwest, the cool, moist air smells amazing. When I step out  onto my front deck to refill the bird feeder early in the morning, my first sniff of the air never fails to invigorate me. I can smell the sea, only a couple of miles west,  the oak trees, and cedars and spruce and Douglas fir, and combined with the rich, moist earth they brew up a kind of perfume I like to call ‘Dena’s magic elixir.’

When I get my first whiff of my ‘elixir,’  it’s like a cup of stiff coffee, and all of a sudden I’m filled with ambition and creativity. Do you feel like that too?

This morning,as I pulled up and parked at my hair salon for a cut and color, I saw this:


Incredible isn’t it? God is so good to let us experience this kind of beauty especially when the rest of the plants on our hemisphere are ready to go to sleep.

In the early years of our marriage, Bruce and I lived in a farming community in northern Illinois. In the fall we sometimes went to a local orchard to pick apples. The kids loved the hot cider we could buy at the farm. Sometimes we’d go for hay rides, then roast marshmallows over a big outdoor fire. Out there, the pleasant odors of drying corn stalks and hay made me wish I’d grown up on a farm.

Later, when we lived on Long island, New York, fall was the time for us to have our annual treasure hunt. We’d hand out clues and maps and send a hundred friends out into the dark to search for treasures and clues in cemeteries, around old barns, empty parking lots. Afterward we’d have a party and hand out prizes. Such fun.

We carried the treasure hunt tradition into our years in Colorado with good success. One year, I bought a good-sized pumpkin and turned it into some pretty tasty soup.

Now that we’ve put in a new gas fireplace, fall is the perfect time to have friends over and sit close to its warmth.


When I was a child, one of our family traditions was to make the long, long journey (really about four hours from the San Francisco bay area, but it seemed like forever) south to Reedley, California. The town of Reedley was founded by my great-grandfather. It’s close to Fresno, if you know where that is.

Reedley was very small at that time. The current population is about 30,000. We kids used to go to the orchards to pick all sorts of fruit, sometimes cotton, sometimes persimmons—which I didn’t like—and hang out with cousin Bob. My aunt Helen Mae would cook a huge turkey dinner and Bob would play his recent compositions on the piano. He was hugely talented. Grammy and Granddaddy sometimes let us stay with them at the Reedley motel. That was a big treat.

Lately, we’ve been driving down to the San Francisco bay area to see my mom and my brothers and sisters. But Mom died last year and everyone’s decided to do their own thing this year. So I’ll miss being with my sweet sisters and brothers. But next year we’ll get together again.


That’s my big brother Jay and my older sister, Lori.

Oh, and one last thing about fall: I’m extra creative then. I think 99 percent of my book ideas have come to me between September and December. In fact, another story idea just came to me last week, and it will soon become an outline for me to write from.

Yay, fall!

Thank You, Lord, for the season of fall.


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