Yesterday I packed away my flip-flops and summer dresses, banishing the bright colors to a dark box and replacing them with thick cable-knit sweaters and knee-high boots. I was a little sad to say goodbye to summer, but when I put on a cozy long sleeve shift and accessorized with my favorite scarf - the one that had lain forgotten for months - I knew it would be alright.
I was never one to celebrate autumn. All fall meant to me was the end of summer and the upcoming snow - what was so great about that? But then when I studied in London I looked at the sprinkling of the colors in the trees with longing, and sought out the few leaves on the sidewalk to hear that familiar rustle and crunch. When it came time to pick a wedding date, the fall months jumped out at me. I wanted my husband's Australian family to see a the leaves change in New England. We can't compete with an Aussie summer, but we pass their fall by leaps and bounds.
Now, I've come to appreciate the fall as the change of seasons at its best. Crisp days, soft sunlight and a blaze of color everywhere you go. I hurry to the farmstand to see what new produce has been harvested this week, and I hoard Macoun apples by the bushel. I only with I could send them across the oceans so that my family abroad could taste a perfect little sample of autumn in New England - fresh, crisp and gone too soon.
What is your favorite season? Do you have any family traditions for the fall?
Recently, I moved down to the beach for the winter. Although it seems counterintuitive, living at the beach during the off season is going great so far, with cheap rent, empty beaches, and amazing views from the back yard.
I've always wanted to watch the sun rise. I think I actually made it once or twice, only to have the image in my head thwarted by clouds. Seeing the sun rise over the ocean seemed especially romantic. When Mark and I spent New Years Eve on Fraser Island in Australia, we swore we would get up and greet the sun rising over the Pacific, but it didn't happen.
With the sun rise in Southern New Hampshire happening just after 6 a.m., it is coinciding perfectly with when I get up. Each morning, before I leave my bedroom at the end of the apartment, I can see the blazing sunlight peeking in under and around the door. When I walk into the living room, which faces the ocean, it is on fire.
I always stop to notice a beautiful sunset and think about all the things it represents - a higher power, the tiny part we play in the world, and the amazing power of nature. This week, I have been blessed to start my days with the most stunning skies. It reminds me to take a minute to enjoy the quiet before jumping into the hub-bub of the day. It's hard to have the morning blues when the world is so beautiful, just outside your sliders.
What about you - what things can help you start your day right? Have you ever seen the sun rise?
Meanwhile, here is my writing, elsewhere
I wrote the cover story for Renew Magazine about musicians in recovery. It was a fun story, where I got to talk to Marissa Rhodes, former American Idol contestant, and Wes Geer, former touring guitarist for Korn.
As I blogged about before, I've loved interviewing WWII vets for an upcoming book. This vet told me about flying in a bomber during the assault on Dusseldorf, Germany, and later visiting the city as a tourist with his wife.
For those of you who are local, this horse show by the brain behind Cirque du Soiel was amazing, this film festival in Portsmouth this weekend is bringing a taste of Telluride to New Hampshire, and this new show in Boston will give you a fix for Pottermania.
Late last week I was in the shower, contemplating some ideas for blog posts, and hoping that one would jump out at me. Be careful what you wish for. Just as I stepped out of the shower my phone rang: "I'm worried about your dad."
Most of you probably remember my post about my father and his bipolar disorder. Amazingly, that post not only gardnered a great response from my friends and family, but also opened an honest dialogue between me and my dad about his disease. Through some luck and a massive amount of effort, my dad has been more functional this summer than he has been in five years. For the first time in a long time, he was trying.
That's why it hurt all the more to get that call. I immediately got in the car and drove to his house, to see what help I could give, knowing all too well that there is often nothing I can do when he begins to slip into a depression. However, the rapport that we had built up in the summer showed. For the first time ever, I was completely comfortable saying "I'm worried about you. This is what we need to do." We agreed to make a doctor's appointment for as soon as possible. A simple start.
Not quite. Even though I had a long list of referrals from his primary care physician, I left the house two hours later with no appointment booked. Time and again I heard, "We're not accepting new patients," or "Sorry, we don't take that insurance." At one point my dad looked at me and said, "You have no idea the anxiety this causes me. I wouldn't be able to do it." Out of a list of more than ten providers, one was able to see my dad, on the condition that he come into the office to make his appointment in person. For you or I, that would be an inconvenience. For someone slipping deeper into a depression it's a daunting obstacle.
Nearly everyone would agree that the healthcare system in the U.S. is broken, and it often seems that the mentally ill have the shortest end of the stick. With little or no preventative care, their diseases are left to run rampant. Then, when they are at a critical point, they must find their way through the health care labyrinth. No wonder so many get lost.
My father is lucky enough to have a large family, where there is always someone willing to help. One of us can step in when another is burned out. I can't imagine any mentally-ill patient going at it alone.
In the end, he got an appointment, which another family member took him to. He's weaving his way through the healthcare maze, and despite the bump in the road, he's still trying.
For All Your Writing and Editing Needs