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Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween Blogfest: Jane Toombs


Where I lived as a kid, and have come back to live now, October is a gorgeous month. In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Lake Superior’s shore, we’re finished with September rains and the deciduous trees leaves are all turning color. Oak--mostly red. Maple--gold, orange mostly, with some scarlet. Wild pin-cherry--yellow. Ash--yellow-gold.

In other words, everywhere you look there’s a riot of color, set off by the evergreens--white pine, spruce, balsam ,which stay green all year.

October has a harvest moon as well. Day are clear with bright-blue weather, but nights seem to have a sort of smoky haze through which the moon shines brilliantly.

As a teen, with a full harvest moon came high school football rallies with evening bonfires. And, of course, also romantic evenings. Since I’m eighty-five, in my teens romance was more innocent than what goes on today. Probably leaving a lot more male teens frustrated, but a girl dropping out of high school because she was pregnant was extremely rare. In those days, right or wrong, girls were not allowed to come to school visibly pregnant.

Condoms were obtainable. But I lived in a small town where the only place they could be bought was the local drug store. Because the druggist and also the clerk who worked there pretty much knew everyone in town, a male teen risked his mother or father being told he’d bought condoms.

Today, October is still the same up here in the boondocks as far as the weather and leaf-turning goes. We’re still a wilderness area. But the town has felt the depression because the paper mill just outside of town was not only closed, but torn down People have left to find jobs elsewhere. Times are tough and the population is way down. But we still have a library, a post office, a grocery store, a gas station, a hardware store and a few places to have a good meal outside of the home. Our hospital was taken over by a chain, so is still open. The schools still have enough students to stay open. No doubt they still have football rallies as well. We’re the county seat, which helps. Even today, I think October lifts folk’s spirits because of the cool-but not-yet-cold-weather, the glory of the flaming trees, and the serene beauty of a harvest moon.

The following is a quote from my father’s book: “This Ontonagon Country.” His name was James K. Jamison and in this non-fiction history of the area he caught the fall season so perfectly it makes my eyes sting every time I read it:

“There would be the crystal and cobalt sea running lazily up on a clean, wide beach of sand under a sun whose light and warmth are diffused through a haze like the unreality of dreams. There would be the Porcupine Hills, crouching, smoky-blue. There would be that colossal palette of the woods, smeared with rich color: scarlet and yellow and brown and green in tints and shades and tones. There would be the whirr of the partridge in swift flight, the call of ducks on the marsh, the slap of a beaver’s tail on the still pond. There would be the smell of the smoke of wood fires, the odor of leaf mould on the forest floor. There would be the strong, wild bouquet of the blackberry as it ripened in the noon sun between the sharp, cool nights. There would be that autumn feeling in the air, that peculiar character of the atmosphere that catches and blends the memories of summer and the threats of winter to make at once an assurance and an expectancy: thin chill of morning, warm glow of mid-day, fog-heavy damp evening. All these impressions and many others would constitute their inheritance in memory, a trust estate that could never be lost to them.”

From the Lake Superior beach across from my house, I can see the Porcupine Mountains reduced to hills by the distance. The water is before me, crystal clear and reflecting the blue sky. If I venture into the woods near my home I might experience some of the other sounds. Or, perhaps a coyote, wolf or porcupine. Not to mention the cougar local people have been seeing and hearing around here lately.

As it was for my father, Fall is my favorite season.

Comment to win an ecopy of Shadow On The Floor, Book I of the Dangerous Darkness Trilogy.

Also, for anyone who emails me their snail mail address, I will send a CD with read-only excerpts of all my recent books on it, plus a surprise goodie.

Jane Toombs, born in California, raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, has returned "home" to live in the beautiful Upper Peninsula on the shore of Lake Superior--with the Viking from her past. Jane has five children, two stepchildren, seven grandchildren, a calico cat named Kinko and two computers.

She's the author of over eighty published books, both in paper and electronic. These include the various romance genres--gothic, suspense, contemporary, historical, Regency and paranormal--as well as other genres such as mystery, fantasy and horror. Jane has used pseudonyms--Ellen Jamison, Diana Stuart, Olivia Sumner--but is now writing under her own name except for her Zebra/Pinnacle romances for which she uses Jane Anderson.


Jean MP said...

Enjoyed reading your post, yes I would have to agree Fall is my favorite time of the year, the cooler temps, the sights and sounds.
skpetal at hotmail dot com

Debby said...

Your description makes it sound so beautiful.
debby236 at gmail dot com

pc said...

Love your father's quote and that is evokes such a feeling...thank you for sharing it! You live in a magical place it sounds like!