Autumn Blaze (Sandcastle 4.03)


It’s a forewarning of death and sleep. The daisies and coneflowers have shed their petals; they bow their brown heads to pay homage to the goldenrods and sedums. The trees adorn their coats of many colors before casting them off to sleep naked in the gray. The animals are on scavenger hunts, filling their cheeks with nuts and digging burrows to hide from the wind taking a deep breath, ready to blow away autumn’s last fragments.

It’s a season of death and sleep. The world has one more grand show before hibernation, one last exhibition of beauty before the color vanishes.

To bring life to a world ready for slumber is a delicate task. I cup my hands around my mouth and blow gently on the kindling, coaxing a single spark. Inhale. Breathe, and the straw flares with orange light, then dies.

Inhale. Breathe. The straw glows, fades, glows like a heartbeat I control with each breath.

Inhale. Breathe. Smoke hides the embers, which come to life with sizzling pops. I squint through the gray plume and blow again, carefully, not too hard to kill what I’ve created.

Flames lick the kindling. It must taste to their liking because they stretch higher, like sunflowers reaching for the sun. I lean back to admire this creature that is eating voraciously now, dancing with delight, swaying with the breeze to music I don’t understand. It mimics the coats of the trees but does one better, adding light to the color to make the leaves envious.

It is starving in its infancy. I gather thicker branches in my arms and carry them to arrange as an offering. Age will tame the beast down to rippling scales of pulsing embers and steady heat like the chest of a dragon. I lean back on my heels to admire it, my cheeks pinkening in the radiating heat waves that repel the persistent nip of the deepening dusk. In a season of death and sleep, I created a ravenous, glowing dancer that makes the shadows bend to its will and puts the leaves to shame.

Ah, autumn.



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I'm an award-winning fantasy author, artist, and photographer from La Porte, Indiana. My poetry, short fiction, and memoir works have been featured in various anthologies and journals since 2005, and several of my poems are available in the Indiana Poetry Archives. The first two novels in my Chronicles of Avilésor: War of the Realms series both received the Literary Titan Gold Book Award in 2020.

After working as a freelance writer for a time, I was shocked by how many website articles are actually written by paid "ghost writers" but credited to a different author. It was a jolt seeing my articles presented under the name of a high-profile CEO or an industry expert with decades of experience when in reality, I had none of those credentials. Just a talent for writing and the time to research topics. Ghost writing is perfectly legal and a VERY common practice.

You won't find that here on my website. I do not and never will pay a ghost writer, then slap my name on their work as if I'd written it. This website is 100% authentic. No outsourcing. No ghost writing. No AI-generated content. It's just me... as it should be.

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3 thoughts on “Autumn Blaze (Sandcastle 4.03)

  1. Sara – so good to read your words. Where has the summer…fall gone? Also, your words reflect a part of the country’s mind and heart in this season of harsh change. Keep digging deep in your heart for words that ring true about life and all seasons and those thundering hearts that give us hope for a new season of growth, and green, and life. —Roger

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