Today we will have equal hours of daylight and darkness. The autumnal equinox began this morning at 5:04 am EDT. It marks the time the sun shines directly overhead at the equator, and will bring increasingly shorter days until the Winter Solstice in December.
But you know what those shorter days mean, don’t you?
Longer nights! Just the sort of thing any romance writer lives for! Longer nights with more time to read, write, and cuddle. And not necessarily in that order. A little cuddle time is a surefire way to infuse our muse!
Longer nights allow time for family, and as it grows cooler, for romantic crackling fires in the fireplace, or wild snapping bonfires throwing sparks into the night sky in the yard. Hot chocolate or mulled cider. I got so excited about those cool winter evenings being on the horizon, that I made a practice batch of warm walnut brownies last night. Sure hope the glass of cold 1% milk made up for their fat content. (Jamie helped me out with the excuse walnuts are good for you. lol) It’s certainly a time for remembering and stories.
September would have been Hubby’s step-dad’s birthday, and my mother’s birthday; 20th and 21st to be exact. Missing them prompted talk, talk lead to stories, and the stories led to laughter. Laughter makes everything easier, even the hurt of a loved on passed on.
Hubby reminisced about rabbit hunting with his step-father, Percy, who was really more of a heart-father; they were close as any true father and son. He went every where Percy did, but being a very young boy put hubby at a disadvantage while working beagles around Belle Chase. The scrubby Myrtle bushes were over his head, the tall grasses came to his nose, and swamp and marshy areas surrounded them. The hunters literally had to run to keep up with the dogs, and Percy had given him strict instructions to follow right in his footsteps because of the possibility of getting lost, and snakes from the marsh. The beagles began to sound off in the distance, that excited baying that signified they were on a rabbit. Percy took off at an angle to intercept them and shoot the rabbit. Hubby said they’d been running about five minutes straight, zigzagging between trees and watery places, Hubby staying right on his heels.
Hubby said he saw things as they were happening. But being a kid and so intent on following explicit orders “You step exactly where I step and you’ll be okay, you hear?” (said he wasn’t about to disobey and not get to come with the men again) there was nothing he could do to avert disaster. He saw when Percy’s boot slapped down on a four-foot moccasin, mashing him into the mud. The snake was so startled it didn’t have time to do anything, and Percy never realized he was there. But Hubby, hot on Percy’s heels, and still stepping right in Percy’s footsteps, stepped square on the same snake. The only thing that saved hubby was the snake stiffened up, indignant, after being stomped by a size 10, and being stiff he rolled a bit under Hubby’s foot. Just like a person being hit with a one-two, that snake snapped together in the middle like a folding chair closing in half, both ends slapping Hubby’s thigh. But instead of fang and tail slapping his leg, that slight roll the snake took under hubby’s foot swapped sides on him, and the back of the snake’s head and tail connected.
Not that that mattered to Hubby. He said all his 7-year-old brain could compute was S-N-A-K-E!!! In big flashing red lights.
That was all it took for him to launch himself forward onto an unsuspecting Percy, landing on the man’s back, seeking higher ground with all the grace and determination of a spider monkey on crack. Said he got to see over the myrtle bushes for the first time the entire hunt. But with Percy stumbling around, unable to see where he was going because there was a kid wrapped around his head, the scenery kept changing too quickly for Hubby to really focus on anything. Says he remembers Percy trying to yell something, too, but it must have muffled by the skinny blue-jeans covered legs he had clamped over the man’s mouth and neck.
Hubby said Percy finally got him peeled off, holding him safely suspended in the air with one fist, shotgun going off in the other as he shot the snake. They had to take a short break to scrape the mud off Percy’s neck from where Hubby had been running, tractionless, and dig muck out from under his collar and out of Percy’s ears from the soles of Hubby’s scrambling shoes. Hubby spent the rest of the hunt, still following close behind, looking at the muddy child-sized footprints decorating the back of Percy’s hunting jacket. Said they got forty-two rabbits that night. Enough to make a good extended family meal, share with neighbors, and put some in the freezer.
Me, I still can’t believe Percy took him hunting again.
Enjoy the new fall season coming up. Use these longer nights to let your imagination run wild, then use it in your writing!