The Glorious Stink of Fall

Autumn leaves october 1 2015
Yellowknife September 2003

Yellowknife September 2003

I’ve always loved fall. It meant a new beginning to me with the school year ahead — new clothes, new school supplies, and new adventures. I still think of September as the beginning of the year. September on the west coast where I grew up was still pretty warm and dry, but in Yellowknife, where I spent 14 autumns, it was a hit or miss montage of glorious crisp sunny days of picking cranberries beside the brilliant golden birches, and the girding of my loins when realizing that there were at least 7 months of winter ahead when it snowed way early on September 14th.

Since I moved to the east coast, I’ve learned how different life is here: people were lying nearly naked on the beach on September 28th at 31°C, taking on the hue of the autumn leaves as they baked in the sun. And although it got cold and miserable for a few days, today it is beautiful. There are still dragonflies and damselflies warming themselves on the gravel and caterpillars crawling about on October 2nd. I have to say October is definitely my new favourite month.

Yesterday it was decently warm, but cloudy and dull. I decided to take my dog Lulu out for a nice walk in Centennial Park. We always go to the very end of the park where there are less people so she can walk off-leash. It was spectacular! I was taking photos like a madwoman; I was so energized by the display of colour on the trees and on the ground. Even photos that were a mistake were gorgeous. Our route, which normally takes about 20 minutes for us to amble through, took an hour. Even the people we came upon were excited about the beauty of it all.

Centennial Park October 1, 2014

Centennial Park October 1, 2014

So today, in the bright sunshine, I was itching to get outside since well before lunch. Work kept me busy until far beyond that, but we finally made it out — me wearing just a sweater.

My view on today's walk in Dieppe

My view on today's walk in Dieppe

I have learned, in my good fortune as a freelance writer who works from my home office, that taking time out from my day to take a walk not only makes my dog happy, it energizes me in a way that sleep cannot. When we walk, we are both in our own worlds; me listening for birds, watching for dragonflies, and feeling the stiff breeze ruffling my hair; Lulu sniffing every sniff, listening for squirrels to chase, and watching out for people to meet. I firmly believe that everyone, especially creative people, needs to connect to something bigger than themselves. Walking in nature calms me, focuses me, and prepares me for my next project. In fact, I call my walks my creative time. I came up with the idea to write this blog, and the opening for it while walking. It’s all about calming my thoughts enough to be present to what is around me, and when I can do it, creative inspiration hits.

The view from my office desk this morning.

The view from my office desk this morning.

You know which specific moment actually got me to think, “I gotta write about this!”? The moment when I walked into a shaded area that hadn’t been dried by the warmth of the sun. It hit me. That unmistakable stink of fall. It’s both repulsive and wonderfully attractive to me. It means the end of one cycle, but that earthy smelly smell also promises that new life will return in spring.

Where do you find your creative inspiration?