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It happened last night.  I stepped out to accompany Frodo on his midnight constitutional and felt it immediately.  That very slight crispness, a slightly cooler air, a feeling of anticipation—the first peeking of fall behind the undrawn curtain of summer.

The autumn of the year, much moreso than spring, is forever associated in my mind with new beginnings.  I think of smartly sharpened pencils (Ticonderoga were the best) and boxes of Crayola crayons with no colors missing and all the tips unbroken.  The idea to put a hole with a crayon sharpener inside on the front of the box always struck me as genius.  (What will those Crayola engineers think of next?)  That unsullied array of color was brimming with portent for what masterpieces might yet be brought forth from the halls of Rogers Forge Elementary.

This September, instead of a reprise of my assorted fall leaves collage from Miss Pearson’s 4th grade class—the one with crayon shavings pressed and melted between sheets of wax paper that took the school art show by storm—I will begin to write my second novel.  There is not much difference, when you come down to it, between a wax paper leaf project and a novel.  The hardest part of both is a willingness to start.

To begin again and create anew.  This is the dare whispered in our ears by the coming of fall, and crayons, and the blank page.