Fall in the Northern California Valley

Fall in Northern California sprawls.  Contrary to what the calendar says, that it begins around September 21 during the fall equinox, I often sense its beginning on or before August 12.  The previous day is summer, and the next day is definitely fall.  Having felt this every year, I was delighted to discover that the Chinese calendar places the beginning of fall near August 7.

What is it that makes us sense autumn’s arrival?  Is it the shortened days, an ionic something in the air, cooler weather?  In Train to Nowhere, Garland marvels over this phenomenon when Mystery Rider points it out to him, though they aren’t in California.

The weather may cool with a series of look-alike days, but this first part of fall is Indian summer.  Triple digit days can still hang like a dense curtain or blow like a furnace.

Perhaps fall’s arrival is signaled by the tang in the air.  It’s as if air from the mountains has seeped into the valley.  You can smell it, and your imagination transports you to the pine forest where you can walk on a carpet of needles.

I recall, as a child, how my father would load the family into the car in the evening after the milking was done, and he’d drive us leisurely through the country past fields of new-mown hay.  Ah, the aroma!  How can one describe such an elixir?

Today I pass orchards that have just been stripped of their prunes.  Almonds carpet the ground, ready to be swept into rows and carried up conveyor belts and blown into trucks.  My brothers used to knock almonds and often disturb paper wasp nests.  You can imagine what would follow.  Nowadays a machine shakes the nuts loose.  Soon walnut and olive harvest will begin.

The trees are still green.  The color change and the rain of leaves will creep upon us.  Cold weather may not hit until just before Thanksgiving.  Autumn dons its full garment of color in a November fest and lingers to kiss winter on the cheek.

I’ve been interviewed

Check out my Q&A interview at smashwords.  I invite your comments and any other questions you may want to add to the interview.


Train to Nowhere, the Print Version

Train to Nowhere title gimp

Here it is!  See the print edition on Amazon or any other bookstore.  Now you can hold the book in your hands.  Of course the e-book is also available, spruced up with this new cover and corrected innards.  Check it out.

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