When I was in college, I took a poetry writing class. Have no fear, I’m not going to start posting poetry here, at least not my own poetry. How very bloggy that would be. But I unexpectedly found myself thinking of that class this week. It was about this time of year, and my professor exhorted us all to do something, anything to get out of our writing ruts for the next week. Get really drunk, he advised us, spend the night in the wheatfields, rappel from a grain silo—anything to prevent another week of writing more poems about autumn.

We couldn’t help it. There was something about autumn in Walla Walla that I don’t remember experiencing anywhere else that I have lived. Something about the late afternoon light or the sudden early morning cold snap, combined with the rolling fields all around? And it seems that we were all, to a person, writing about the leaves falling, no doubt torturing metaphors about maturation and transformation and hibernation.

Fall in Tucson was sort of a non-event. The temperature doesn’t drop much until late October, and although it eventually gets more comfortable, the scenery doesn’t really change until the winter and spring rains. Somehow it was hard to get excited about pumpkins and the odd changing leaves when the air conditioner was stilll running. So I’m quite happy to be surprised by autumn again, here in Flagstaff. My neighborhood had its first near-frost yesterday morning. It’s blustery and cool, and the shadows of the pines all up and down the street are getting longer and longer. From the highway, one can see the changing colors of the aspen clusters up on the mountain.

It’s almost enough to make one want to write some poetry. But I won’t. There’s other writing to do.