As Frodo stood upon the threshold, Elrond wished him a fair journey, and blessed him, and he said:

“I think, Frodo, that maybe you will not need to come back, unless you come very soon. For about this time of the year, when the leaves are gold before they fall, look for Bilbo in the woods of the Shire. I shall be with him.”

When the leaves are gold before they fall. I’ve never found a better phrase to describe my favorite few weeks of the year than the words Tolkien gave Elrond to say in this scene from The Return of the King. They evoke not only the beauty of the mellowing season, but the sense of longing and wanderlust I often feel in autumn, the desire to get in my car and drive for a very long distance.

Autumn, October especially, seems a fitting time for journeys. I’ve taken many wonderful journeys in October, often for novel research, but this October I’ve stayed put, mostly here at this desk in my living room. This is the month I dedicated to finishing the first draft of The Quiet in the Land. I almost wish it hadn’t fallen on October, because here I sit thinking about new places I’d like to see, and people I’d like to see them with. Wanderlust is nipping at the edges of my soul.

I’ll have to content myself with the character in the scene-in-progress, who is about to make a distant autumn journey of his own, as I stay behind and bid him farewell.

The leaves in my own yard will be yellow soon, but the first sign of autumn I have within sight of my windows each year is this tree in my across-the-street neighbor’s yard. The tips of this tree are the first to start the annual autumn blush. That was already happening before I left for ACFW, back in mid-September.

The photo below was taken yesterday, at the height of its color, just hours before the wind picked up, clouds moved in, and many of these gorgeous leaves began to drop.

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