Friday, October 24, 2014

Guest Post: Bonnie Dodge


Today I'm pleased to share this guest post from fellow Booktrope author, Bonnie Dodge, author of WAITING. I'm sure you'll enjoy her essay on the joys of autumn as well as her wonderful novel.

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
–Emily Brontë (1818–48)

It’s fall, one of the most glorious seasons here in southern Idaho. By some odd fluke we haven’t had a killing frost and there’s still time to linger outdoors where the leaves on the birch trees are changing a bright, happy yellow. As the aspen trees splay their colorful leaves against the clear blue skies, the chill in the air begs for long walks and apple cider.

In an eulogy for his friend Gene Van Guilder, Ernest Hemingway wrote, “Best of all he loved the fall . . .” I think of those words as I gather pumpkins and pick the last of my green beans.  Once again summer has raced by and too soon it seems I am pulling wilted vines and collecting the last straggling tomatoes. The only thing growing in the garden is the row of beets I will dig next week and drop into jars to be enjoyed later this winter. I love growing my own food, but there is something satisfying about putting the garden to bed and preparing the soil for another season.

My friend Shirley has a hard time each fall. “It’s all dying,” she says, close to tears. I don’t need to explain that everything is cyclical, she knows that, and it’s hard to cheer her up when I’m humming as I work. What Shirley sees as death I see as celebration. A glorious show of colors—yellow, red, orange—before everything turns dark and drab for winter. Like Hemingway and Van Guilder fall is the season I like best.

Perhaps the writer in me welcomes fall because the shorter days mean more time indoors at my desk. With a hot cup of coffee and Ruth Fazal playing softly in the background, instead of harvesting cucumbers and lettuce I will harvest words, cultivating them into something palatable for readers.

But not today. Soon enough it will be time for winter coats and gloves. The colors outside beckon. Everything else will just have to wait.

Bonnie Dodge was born in Jamestown, North Dakota, and grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho. She is the author of Miracles in the Desert and for six years wrote “Life in this Magic Valley,” a weekly column for Ag Weekly, a supplement to The Times-News. An award-winning writer, her work has appeared in Idaho Magazine, Sun Valley Magazine, Rawhide & Lace and Calico Trails. She lives in southern Idaho and has an avid interest in Idaho history and historical preservation. She is the winner of numerous awards, including first place in the 2005 IWL novel contest for her novel, The Bones of Pele. Many of her short stories, poems, and essays have won awards, but her passion is women’s fiction. When she isn’t writing, she is reading or working in her garden on her 10-acre farm near Jerome.


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