There’s always one tree that turns first. A harbinger of things to come.

In the worlds I have lived in, I have always been fortunate to live in places where the foliage puts on a show of color for the fall season. I always enjoy this and, indeed, look forward to it. By no means do I ever wish to rush the summer weather but when the nights calmed down in late August to a pleasant coolness, it crossed my mind a couple of times to wonder which tree in my new neighborhood would be the first to go autumnal.

I am living on the coast of Winterfell Absinthe now. My little cabin from the north woods of Winterfell was packed up last month and moved down here to a most lovely spot on the water, isolated from the town itself. From here I can look east between the islands of Undertow and Wolfsbane and view open ocean.

Of course, I can think back to an earlier time… Was it just a year ago that looking east from this same spot would not bring a view of open water but high ground instead? Yes, my old homestead was there, Winterfell Evergreen. I do miss it from time to time. Heck, who wouldn’t miss living in a castle? But I knew it was unlikely to be forever and I certainly enjoyed my time there. I also miss earlier homes here in Winterfell and elsewhere too. Of course. But I have no regrets at all about change. New places, new experiences are always welcome.

My friend, Quin Oddenfen, saw his home destroyed in a manner that changed his life. He quickly tried to restore or re-find it. But as his efforts took time and were met with unforeseen consequences, his attitude about making a home changed. He once wrote about the danger of attaching oneself to a place called “home.” I felt sadness for him at that time. I still do, even though I realize he has adjusted to it all. While I have had to move at times when it wasn’t my choice, I’ve never really had a home taken out from under me with no recourse whatsoever. There has always been some place to go and – not “start again” as Quin at one time hoped to do but simply – “resume,” pick up where one had left off, settle in to new surroundings and see what tomorrow would bring.

Of course, for quite some time now, I have had Winterfell as my home in these worlds and times. When changes have come to Winterfell that have affected me, I have happily picked up from one spot and moved to another, still in love with the whole of it. So there is no pain or regret or sadness in looking out the window of my little cabin and seeing the spot where my castle used to be. In fact, other than on the day I moved in here, I had not thought about it until this morning when I opened the front door, watched the sun rising through the purple fog and stepped outside to see if any of the trees had started to turn.

There was only one that had. A tall birch tree on my property has gone to a beautiful mix of orange and yellow. It is the first tree of the season to turn in my immediate area. It is my first new season in this new spot. There are other “firsts” for me right now in this and other worlds as well. They should fill my tomorrows quite nicely.