The Long, Long, Long Fall

The fact that December is a Fall month has never been self-evident here on the north shore of Long Island, except for this year of Our Global Warming 2015.


I have yet to wear my winter coat this season…and that’s never happened this far into the season.


Please enjoy this pictures of Climate Change (and what the gardeners call “Winter Interest”), let me respond to some recent Comments to this Blog/Not Instagram.


Linda June and Jeanie: I’m sorry for the confusion: My Damn Garden Book (Gardens of Awe and Folly) comes out on March 1, 2016. The various pre-reviews I’ve been bragging about in my posts come from industry publications that let book stores and libraries know what’s in the pipeline so they can plan their book-buying budgets. When the DGB comes out in the Spring there will be another round of reviews for the retail (individual) buyer. Sigh. The judging never ends.


Mary: I went to Rio in my mid-30s for business (fancy auction hose business). I had never had Rio de Janeiro on my Must See List because face it, Brazil is a guy’s kind of place…but my visit there changed the way I looked at life on Earth. Read all about it in the DGB — I don’t mean to plug the Damn Garden Book but it’s a long story and, well, Iv’e already typed it once before.


Megan: Is there a berry sushi (SUSHI??? That’s Auto Correct for “bush”) your garden? Were the berries fermenting? Birds are big boozers, you know. I think you might have had a drunk chickadee on your hands.


Deborah: Great Instagram idea: Things I Pry Out Of My Puppy’s Mouth. No narrative necessary. And I’m with you about getting all three of my books reviewed in the New York Times. It’s the reason I check my e-mail every five minutes…I keep hoping that there’s a message from my agent telling me that I’ve landed the cover of the Sunday Times Book Review. OR, that Taylor Swift just tweeted a pic of the DGB cover to her 50 million followers. OR, that the Duchess of Cambridge was photographed carrying a copy of When Wanderers Cease to Roam. It’s sad how much mental energy I spend on the wishful thinking part of being an author.

Patricia: I saw a Stellar jay once in my life and it was FANTASTIC. I hope that when I come to Seattle on book tour that I get out to the woods to see another one. I’m greedy that way.

The next few photos are shots I took while driving. It’s been a rainy week and I like how the tree bark gets dark against the bright yellow foliage so I’ve been keeping my camera in my car to click while I pass the best views of these kinds of woods:


Felicia: It’s all about the Grok, which is also a word I did not use because I think it’s a bit obscure but if you’ve read Stranger in a Strange Land and discounted all the dirty old man sexist stuff, you’ll know how good a word it is.


I am crazy about tree forms this year and when I see a good tree on the side of the road, I either pull over so I can snap a picture of it (above), or I hope for a stop sign and come to a full stop (!!!), like I did here:


Trees in the morning mist near the Dunkin Donuts on Northern Boulevard:


Kirra and Carol, I’m looking at these trees with my Blue Jay eyes and I know I’ll use this in some future illustration, where these trees will be in their own forest far, far away from parking lots and T-Mobile stores.

Now this is where Top Cat says my blog posts always go on for too long. I can’t wrap this up until I send out these pix of (some) my cats, in a series I call Cats Contemplating Fall:






And Diane in Denver, I didn’t gorget you! Last weekend T.C. and I and T.C.’s son from California walked in Caumsett State Historic Park in Huntington …



…and I did! I did! I waved at the beautiful Long Island Sound for you!


P.S. Is anybody reading this on an iPhone? And is the reading experience totally kattywampus (because I compose this on a big ancient 2011 iMac)? Just wondering, for when I ditch this old hardware and take up Instagram.

17 Comments, RSS

  1. Kirra

    Thanks for sharing the lovely photos, even if they do show climate change (we’ve had very hot spring weather here in the Southern Hemisphere too). I am currently reading your blog and writing this on my iPhone 6 and it’s fine. Please keep doing the blog though, don’t leave us for Instagram! 🙂

  2. Megan

    Well the bird might have been drunk, but I think it was just enjoying the alternate state (?) of giddiness, like small children dangling upside down on the monkey bars, the world looks different! The photos look marvellous and I wish it was autumn here not the start of a stinking hot dry summer. I say that cute little black cat looks like the thought of autumn is not being relished at all. He needs to be inside in front of the fire. Thanks for the great uplifting blog post. iPhone too small for my bad eyesight, 13″ Macbook Air. PS Love autocorrect, so very entertaining.

  3. Barbara

    I just read this on my iPhone perfectly. It’s never a problem. Love your photos and autumn blog. Living on Long Island, I am embracing this extended autumn.

  4. Monica

    I put it on my calendar.
    March 1, 2016, Barnes and Noble order for Bloomsbury Books’-

    “Gardens of Awe and Folly” by 3- time author VIVIAN SWIFT of Long Island, New York.
    All of us should write to Opra Winfrey and tell her about the books you have already written, and she could give it a plug. Best Seller possibility.
    What do you say, Fans of Vivian?

  5. Mary

    to Monica, Wonderful idea!!

    Somebody tell us Opra’s address, ( I can send her
    copies of pages from book.)
    Tell where to write , and I”M IN.

    Good Idea, Monica.

  6. Marg-o

    I didn’t get to read last week’s post until Tuesday (too much Thanksgiving holiday) so I want to thank you here for that blue jay feather story. Perfect for ushering in the real craziness of Christmas!

    I love the photos of Long Island autumn. So that’s where you get your ideas: by driving around with a camera handy. Can’t wait to see how you turn those pix into pix. Beautiful.

    I’m going to look up Oprah’s HQ address and let everyone know. Team Vivian!

  7. Vivian Swift

    Hi Everyone —

    It’s Vivian here: Thank you, Monica, Mary, and Marg-o for getting the Big “O” in on this — but I can assure you that my publisher has already contacted their friends at O Magazine about the DGB. All my fretting about book reviews etc. is just the low-level anxiety every writer has about sending their work out into the world, and not disappointing their publishers. I have faith that books find their readers and, as you already know, my books have THE BEST readers in the world.

    And I’m already hatching the next book — more about that next week.

  8. March may be a long wait for us but longer for you, I bet. We still have some leaves too, but not so many as you. I can work with that — winter is too cold and stays too long. God Bless El Nino. Just sayin’…

    Heart Taffy! (Rick says that about my posts, too — but I can’t help it.)

    • Vivian

      Have no fear, our Penelapoodle is really fine. She is the biggest goof of all our cats, but she’s strictly indoors, and lately has been having a lot of fun wrecking our venetian blinds. I have photos which I must post for you…soon!

  9. Love, love, love the picture of the black kitty looking up, followed by the close up so we can see it’s beautiful green eyes.

    I’m going to try to work “grok” into my vocabulary. I didn’t know such a word existed that means “almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science”. Perfect! Who doesn’t need and want to use a word like this?! I think I get triple “good living in the universe” points if I can use gobsmack and grok in the same sentence…..I’ll get back to you when I can report using it.

    Thanks for another fun ride in Vivian’s world.

  10. ann

    I like you cats anticipating fall. My sweet Fee’ loves this time of year as she rolls on the leaf covered driveway. Down here in Georgia, we still haven’t seen all the leaf changes. My favorite tree is a Ginko Balboa with it bright yellow leaves. Have you ever seen one?

  11. Diane from Denver

    Hi Vivian,
    Thanks for the reply and for waving at the Sound for me. I don’t remember that particular State Park in Huntington but will look it up. I too look forward to seeing your new book and will check out the others at an excellent local library soon.
    What about Martha Stewart Living? Is your agent in a good relationship with those folks? I found out about the wonderful Marie Viljoen of “66 Square Feet” blog via MSL. (“Old flacks never die, they just retire, exhausted.”)
    Re: Instagram, if you do go there, please continue to write actual words! So many of the Instagrammers get lazy and just post photos. Excellent as your photos are (and they Are!), I would hate to lose such terrific writing.
    Last, will your book tour bring you to the Tattered Cover in Denver? I sure hope so!
    Best to you, the cats and your “guys.”
    Diane in Denver

  12. Diane from Denver

    P.s. Thanks for “grok!” For some reason, it popped into my head the other day and I just kept laughing at its sound. Also, I too read your Blog on an I-phone (5S) and it comes through perfectly and fits the screen well.

  13. Thea

    I’ve been thinking about “grok” these days too! And you should see the trees in Yosemite, from which park we’ve just returned. It’s a bifurcated valley: orange leafed-trees on the sunny side, snow-ladened branches on the shady.

    Ooh ooh, a new book. And I particularly visualize for you the Duchess of Cambridge photographed striding along with your book in hand. Or perhaps turning the pages with one of those adorable children on her lap. *sending out to the universe*

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