Although by the calendar and by our understanding of seasons, it is supposed to be autumn, it isn’t particularly autumnal. It isn’t as bad as last year when we had nothing at all at the end of September, but it certainly isn’t the kind of glorious color we typically get in New England.
The problem is climate change. Normally, summer — especially the end of summer — is dry. By the end of August, a lot of leaves turn yellow. Aspen turns bright yellow before August is over. The maple trees by the end of September are turning red.
There was some moderately bright colors along the river. There’s some color at the Mumford Dam in town, but it is a bit pale. I haven’t given up on the season yet, though the next week is supposed to be heavy rain and the temperatures are going back up. To get things back on something like a natural track, we need cold nights — preferably below freezing — with cool, dry days. With or without sun, it doesn’t matter.
Rain and temperature matter a lot. So does wind. A serious wind and rain event will strip the trees in a matter of hours. We’ve had some late summer hurricanes which eliminated all the leaves.
Early snow also kills the leaves. We’ve had snow as early as the beginning of September. It makes an ugly mess. Because the leaves are still on the trees, branches and sometimes big trees break under the weight of wet and icy snow.
I don’t think we’re getting early snow! They just said we might get a hard frost on Friday after an 80 degree (70 Celsius) daytime temperature.
So I’m hoping for better, but I recognize the first major loss to our very local climate might be Autumn. I wouldn’t mind losing spring, which is really just a lot of slushy snow, melting ice, and sucking mud.
AND NOW FOR THE QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:
Earlier this week Rory asked a question that I found so interesting, I thought I’d share it. Another question, similar to this one was asked in August.
If confronted with a violent crime against a single individual in progress (severe beating, rape, assault) do you try to do something about it (phone authorities or confront the criminal, stop the crime) or do you figure it’s none of your business and walk or drive on by? Worse (to me) would you record the crime for social media use without doing anything else?
I can’t imagine NOT getting involved. I know I’m not exactly at the peak of my physical powers, but a well-placed rock or whack on the head can at minimally cause enough distraction to get cops on the scene. And there’s always trying to knock someone over with your car.
But I would have to do something. I would never live it down.
Okay now we got the heavy stuff out of the way, let’s get to some less stressful questions.
If someone asked to be your apprentice and learn all that you know, what would you teach them?
I’ve been a writing teacher. You can’t teach someone to write. You can teach someone to write better. You can teach them ways to make their sentences less awkward and easier to understand. To clarify writing. To explain the point of putting “who, what, where, why, and when” at the beginning of a post rather than buried within it.
In the end, if you have a talent for writing, you will find a way to write. I can help, but the ability needs to be there. And you need more than mere talent. You need the will and tenacity to stick with it even when it isn’t going well and in the current market, it can be a long time between writing something brilliant and getting it published and in a market where people will see it and read it.
Talent, time, tenacity — plus a reasonable idea of the kind of writing you would like to do. Fiction? Poetry? News? Technical documents? Most people, especially young ones, think it’s all about fiction, but as far as writing for a living goes, most of the ways you earn a living as a writer will be in some kind of non-fiction.
First, think of a product. What would be the absolute worst brand name for one of those products?
I’m blank on this. Maybe I’ll think of something later, but right now? It’s a completely empty space. It’s been that kind of day.
What ridiculous and untrue, yet slightly plausible, theories can you come up with for the cause of common ailments like headaches or cavities?
Cavities are caused by very tiny pixies who climb into your mouth while you sleep and drill holes in your mouth. They have larger cousins who hide your underwear.