and nights grow shorter

Hot Oil Prompt

Hi!  So…I haven’t written in awhile and I wanted to pick back up so…here goes nothing! I’m a massive Inuyasha fan and love reading Inufics so I figured I would start there~  I love @mustardyellowsunshine ‘s writing prompts so this is what I did with their 3rd prompt.  I’d love to know what y’all think of my little fluffy one shot.  <3  (Plz be kind.  I’m new to le tumblrzzz.  I’ve just been silently loving the Inu-community for years!) 


“So there I was, like, covered in hot oil!”

“How did you get away without a single burn?”

“Oh, well, I suppose it’s wasn’t that hot,” Kagome quickly corrected, the two girls walking with their heads together, their laughter floating up into the air and swirling into the evening sky above them.  “I was so embarrassed!  I had finally gotten the lead in the school play and what do I do? Sneeze into a candle during the climax of the entire story!  Oh, I could have died right then and there.”  Giggling over the memory, the young priestess looped her arm through the taijiya’s, bumping her hip as they continued along their path.  

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anonymous asked:

My friend asked me a while back if I thought Ygritte was fridged (in the books). After thinking on it I'm still undecided. What are your thoughts?

I can see where that came from. Female character in a romantic relationship with the main male character, killed off to profound effect in that male character’s inner monologue…nine times out of ten I’d be suspicious and angry. There are two things that stop me from calling this a fridging.

Just so we’re clear going on, I understand fridging to be a female character’s death, primarily as a plot device to motivate a male character’s story.

First, while Jon is undoubtedly affected by Ygritte’s death and her death marks the end of his first romantic relationship, I don’t think Jon is motivated by Ygritte’s death. Jon’s actions in book five, the most we see of him after her death, are instead motivated in large part by profound empathy for the Free Folk - and that empathy developed independently of Ygritte’s death (though not her life). This is most poignantly shown in Jon V of ASoS:

Every day he spent among the wildlings made what he had to do that much harder. He was going to have to find some way to betray these men, and when he did they would die. He did not want their friendship, any more than he wanted Ygritte’s love. And yet…the Thenns spoke the Old Tongue and seldom talked to Jon at all, but it was different with Jarl’s raiders, the men who’d climbed the Wall. Jon was coming to know them despite himself: gaunt, quiet Errok and gregarious Grigg the Goat, the boys Quort and Bodger, Hempen Dan the ropemaker. The worst of the lot was Del, a horsefaced youth near Jon’s own age, who would talk dreamily of this wildling girl he meant to steal. […]

Jon had to bite his tongue. He didn’t want to know about Del’s girl or Bodger’s mother, the place by the sea Henk the Helm came from, how Grigg yearned to visit the green men on the Isle of Faces, or the time a moose had chased Toefinger up a tree. He didn’t want to hear about the boil on Big Boil’s arse, how much ale Stone Thumbs could drink, or how Quort’s little brother had begged him not to go with Jarl.

- Jon V, ASoS

Whether he ever wanted to or not, Jon sees the Free Folk as people first, through his interactions with more of the Free Folk than just Ygritte, and this drives his policies in ADWD.

“So tell me, my lord, what are these wildlings, if not men?”

- Jon XI, ADWD

Ygritte didn’t need to die for him to realise that. Ygritte’s death did not motivate him into choosing to try and make a peace with the Free Folk. Likewise with Jon’s realisations about the Others.

“Your losses haven’t been that heavy.”

“Not at your hands.” Mance studied Jon’s face. “You saw the Fist of the First Men. You know what happened there. You know what we are facing.”

“The Others…”

“They grow stronger as the days grow shorter and the nights colder. First they kill you, then they send your dead against you. The giants have not been able to stand against them, nor the Thenns, the ice river clans, the Hornfoots.”

“Nor you?”

“Nor me.” There was anger in that admission, and bitterness too deep for words. “[…] I’ve come with my tail between my legs to hide behind your Wall.”

- Jon X, ASoS

That chapter also features Jon thinking about what the North might be like if the Free Folk cross the Wall. The only mention of Ygritte in this conversation between Jon and Mance is what Ygritte told Jon. Again, there’s no link between her death and Jon’s decisions about how to act in this situation.

Second, Ygritte’s own story leads to her death. There’s doom written all over her. On a thematic level, she’s the representative and foremost proponent of the freedom found north of the Wall.

“D’ya think you’re the first crow ever flew down off that Wall? In your hearts you all want to fly free.”

“And when I’m free,” he asked, “will I be free to go?”

“Sure you will.” She had a warm smile, despite her crooked teeth. “And we’ll be free to kill you. It’s dangerous being free, but most come to like the taste o’ it.”

- Jon I, ASoS

Yet that freedom is inevitably coming to an end in the face of the Others, one way or another. It is Ygritte who openly weeps on hearing ‘The Last of the Giants.’ (See this post for my thoughts on what the song means to her.) Then there’s Ygritte’s foreboding, bittersweet words to finish Jon III, ASoS:

“Let’s not go back to Styr and Jarl. Let’s go down inside, and join up with Gendel’s children. I don’t ever want t’ leave this cave, Jon Snow. Not ever.”

Returning to Styr and Jarl means returning to the reality where Ygritte is fully committed to attacking Castle Black and helping Mance’s host through the Wall  - and Jon is not. They will never be closer than they are at this moment. Literally. Jon hadn’t pulled out yet, at her request.

Sure enough, over the following chapters we see irreconcilable differences between the two, that only reinforce that this relationship is doomed in one way or another. They see things very differently.

“I hate this Wall,” [Ygritte] said in a low angry voice. “Can you feel how cold it is?”

“It’s made of ice,” Jon pointed out.

“You know nothing, Jon Snow. This wall is made o’ blood.”

- Jon IV, ASoS

What’s more, while Jon believes he might die, or will probably die in the continuance of his mission, he’s certain that if Ygritte continues as she does, she’s doomed. As is her cause.

She raised her chin defiantly, and gave her thick red hair a shake. “And men can’t own the land no more’n you can own the sea or the sky. You kneelers think you do, but Mance is going t’ show you different.”

It was a fine brave boast, but it rang hollow. […] “Ygritte,” [Jon] said in a low voice, “Mance cannot win this war.”

“He can,” she insisted. “You know nothing, Jon Snow. You have never seen the Free Folk fight!”

Wildlings fought like heroes or demons, depending on who you talked to, but it came down to the same thing in the end. They fight with reckless courage, every man out for glory. “I don’t doubt that you’re all very brave, but when it comes to battle, discipline beats valour every time. In the end Mance will fail as all the Kings-beyond-the-Wall have failed before him. And when he does, you’ll die.”

- Jon V, ASoS

This is the author speaking through Jon as much as anything else (Jon doesn’t know of the fall of Winterfell, nor that Robb will shortly be murdered), yet we see the truth of this when Mance Rayder’s overwhelming numbers break in the face of Stannis Baratheon’s superior organisation and tactics. As Jon thinks shortly before the first attack on Castle Black, the one in which Ygritte dies,

Ygritte, stay away. Go south and raid, go hide in one of the roundtowers you liked so well. You’ll find nothing here but death.

- Jon VII, ASoS

On a character level, Ygritte did not die because of anything Jon did or was or failed to do. She died because she did dangerous work, put herself at risk, and physically fought for the things she believed in. We first meet her when Jon is this close to killing her. Her mortality is foregrounded in that chapter, to say the least.

“You never killed a woman before, did you?” When he shook his head, she said, “We die the same as men.”

- Jon VI, ACoK 

So basically, when that crucial link between Ygritte’s death and Jon’s foremost motivations doesn’t seem to exist, the author establishes right off the bat that Ygritte isn’t safe, consistently shows that her death is a likelihood, and ultimately kills her off not for her relationship with a man but acting in furtherance of her own personal goals (in this case directly opposed to her love interest), I don’t think I personally would call it a fridging.

anatomy of a second language 

When a sadness chews at the bottom of your heart, it’s as though you walk all day with your dress on backwards, the buttons facing the forest, the collar facing the village.

- Deathless, Catherynne M Valente

John moves through the hall silently, hardly disturbing even the shadows. Night fell hours ago – the days grow shorter – and the quiet inside the halls is deep. During the day, Winterfell hums with the shared breaths and labors of near a thousand men and women dedicated to restoring it, preparing for winter, preparing for war. But in the night it’s so quiet and still, he thinks sometimes he can  hear his own heartbeat.

Too quiet, in truth.

There are ghosts in Winterfell, and in the night, John can hear them whispering.

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Midsummer Ideas

I’ll be going camping with the fam till mid next week, so I’ll leave you with some Midsummer/Litha celebration ideas for until I get back.

-It’s the longest day of the year, so you can create an altar for light, fire, and/or the sun with candles, a fire bowl, sparklers, stones and herbs associated with the sun, reflective objects, a gold altar cloth, etc.

-If you’re more into night and darkness, wait for sunset and do a little ritual to welcome the returning night, as now for the next six months, the nights will be growing longer and the days shorter. Light a gold candle shortly before sunset and extinguish it when the sun is gone, bury it and replace it with a black or silver one. Leave offerings and prayers for dark deities. 

-The sun enters Cancer this day, which is a water sign, so you can honor that too by swimming, visiting the ocean, pegging water balloons at those who have wronged you, taking a ritual bath/shower…

-Drum circles and other music making. (You can also include making the drums and shakers in your festivities, especially if you have kids).

-Making and leaving treats for the fairies because either a.) you genuinely like them, or b.) to give them a peace offering so they won’t hide your stuff or fuck up your house.

-Do research on sun deities.

-Meditate on the Sun’s energy. (*whispers* work on your tan.)

-This year it’s on the same day as the full moon, so take advantage of this glorious blend of solar and lunar energy. Work magick to promote harmony, healing, bringing much needed motivation, energy, or inspiration into your life, bringing in new relationships, or strengthening already existing bonds. 

-Watch Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book 3: Fire, Chapter 13: “The Firebending Masters.” I’m not entirely joking, this episode gives a nice commentary on the properties of fire and the sun.

-Wildly dance around the bonfire like the heathen you are.

-BURN DOWN DONALD TRUMP’S MANSION

-Gardening.

Originally posted by butteryplanet

Have fun, ya’ll.

the signs as fall
  • Aries: The last of the summer sun's rays warm your skin as you sit in a hidden corner of an apple orchard. The sour smell of rotting apples hits your nose as wasps buzz around. It's bittersweet.
  • Taurus: Sweaters and boots come out of their hiding places, filling your closet as fuzzy socks find their way onto your feet. Scarves curl around your neck and hats nestle themselves down over your ears, you've no excuses to be cold!
  • Gemini: You light up a bonfire one last time. You and your friends huddle close, watching the flames reach out into the air for a final goodbye. Days later your hair and clothes still smell like smoke and you smile.
  • Cancer: Rainy evenings call for you to stay inside, wrapped up in blankets on the living room couch. The television screen glows, lighting up your face. Both you and the rain have no intention of leaving and you don't mind.
  • Leo: Town and state fairs and carnivals roll around, people scream on rides that glow and flash vibrantly against the dimming sky. The smell of petting zoos, popcorn, and cotton candy meld with the sounds of laughter and metal thunder of each ride in a feeling of happiness.
  • Virgo: The gray of the morning sky blends into the same gray of the mid-afternoon as you drive out of town. The trees on far away hills burn in bright reds, oranges, and yellows, lighting up the earth more vibrantly than the sun.
  • Libra: Days become shorter as nights grow longer. The sun sets in deep shades of orange and rich purples. The leaves shake on the trees as the air turns crisp. You feel the earth turn beneath your feet as you try to take it all in.
  • Scorpio: Early mornings drowned in fog and draped with a blanket of wet leaves. Drops of water run down, streaking the fogged car window, giving you glimpses into all of the quiet neighborhoods you drive by.
  • Sagittarius: Birds fly south overhead as you make your way home. Your house is warmer, your bed softer, your blankets softer than you remember. You lay awake in bed with your dog nestled at your feet, you haven't been this cozy in months.
  • Capricorn: Books stack themselves around you as empty cups and mugs of coffee work their way into what free space is left on your desk. The smell of said books fills the air as a cat purrs on your bed, sometimes it's good to get lost in another world.
  • Aquarius: The cool air bites your cheeks and sweeps your hair out of your face as you ride your bike through the dark, streetlamp lit evening streets. You breeze through neighborhood after neighborhood, clearing your mind, alone and at peace with it.
  • Pisces: Halloween rolls around and the opportunity for disguise arises. There's no telling who you will or won't be and just who you are, and that's only half the joy.
Astrology & The Seasons

The Signs are associated with the Season in which they occur. The entire Tropical (Western) Astrology system is constructed around the seasons. Aries begins when the Sun crosses the Vernal Equinox Line and Spring begins.

The Summer Solstice marks the beginning of Cancer, the Winter Solstice marks the start of Capricorn, and the Autumnal Equinox signifies the beginning of Libra. It is from those Cardinal points that the 30° divisions are drawn.

The Cardinal Signs are the signs of initiation - and they mark the beginning of a Season. The Fixed Signs are the signs of sustainability - and they occur when a Season is at its most stable, 30° after the beginning of the Cardinal Sign that preceded them. The Mutable Signs are the signs of adaptability - and they take up the time period when Seasons are changing, 30° after the beginning of the Fixed Sign that preceded them, and 30° before the Cardinal Sign that succeeds them.

Aries is the beginning of Spring, Taurus is full-fledged Spring, Gemini is the transition from Spring to Summer, Cancer is the beginning of Summer, Leo is Summer at its hottest, Virgo is the transition from Summer to Fall, Libra is the beginning of Fall, Scorpio is full-fledged Fall, Sagittarius is the transition from Fall to Winter, Capricorn is the beginning of Winter, Aquarius is Winter at its coldest, and Pisces is the transition from Winter to Spring.

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Dropping Anchor 2/5

SUMMARY: As if returning home penniless and heartbroken isn’t bad enough, the last thing Emma needs is for her mom to get her a job – and for her future boss to pull her out of the harbor before she even knows his name. But Killian Jones has never been afraid of the water…

Rating: M (later)

Ao3 or FF.net 

A follower appreciation “one shot” for @32variations that got completely out of hand, part 2. 

I love the photosets @lenfaz made for this (just you wait for the one for part 3) and am so happy she offered when she heard about this project! And a big thank you to @evil–isnt–born for beta duties in the midst of holiday madness. 

-x-

She doesn’t mean for it to happen, but somehow after that night of drunken companionship on the docks, she can’t seem to find a way to apply the word stupid to Killian Jones.

It’s awkward when she first arrives at the bar. Killian is obviously nursing a hangover, dark shadows under his eyes and his scruff unkempt. The sight gives her pause, a flicker of something like curiosity, only somehow more tugging at her. He wasn’t sober when he left her at her door, but he wasn’t that drunk, either. Had he gone home and started drinking again? And if he did, why?

Firmly telling herself it isn’t her concern – and that the last thing she wants to do is open the door she’s firmly slammed shut on all the things she thought she wanted to do with him last night under the influence of way too much tequila and rum –Emma settles into the rhythm of Monday afternoon. The bar isn’t that busy, only the handful of regulars present in their accustomed spots, and it doesn’t take long before she’s run out of things to do to occupy herself.

She tries leaning against the wall opposite the bar, her eyes drifting toward the TV without really absorbing anything occurring on the screen. It’s mostly just a way to avoid the heavy weight of Killian’s bloodshot eyes that follow her around the bar – he isn’t even attempting to be subtle about it; the few times she’s looked up and met his gaze, he hasn’t looked away, his stare full of questions.

It’s as if she’s a puzzle he’s determined to solve, his brows slightly furrowed, his eyes slightly narrowed. What the big mystery is, she has no idea. Emma likes to think of herself as fairly straightforward. Maybe she’s not into sharing her deepest secrets, but what’s so complicated about that?

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anonymous asked:

What will it take for my partner and I to close the 4000 mile distance between us for good?

Hello, Querent! You are the first in my queue for Solstice readings. From here on out the days will get shorter, but the nights will grow longer – an intolerable situation for a long-distance lover. 

The World provides some interesting commentary on exactly what’s separating you two – it’s almost astoundingly literal. It’s also near-insurmountable. One doesn’t just make The World happen. It’s a peak that is scaled carefully, diligently, so that you feel firm ground under your feet as you take each new step. 

As far as omens go, I’d say this is encouraging. What’s needed is a shared vision, a clear view of the past, present and future that serves as the basis for the next phase of your lives together. The World is the final card in the Major Arcana, from this peak you step off and become a Fool all over again (albeit wiser than last time). That’s the kind of trust fall that it’s difficult for partners to take together, but life seems to demand it of us, especially if we stay together for any serious length of time.

Here’s the warning I see in this card: don’t let the unease you feel hasten either of you toward a major decision. Difficult as this all may be, you know you can endure it, and regardless of what your misgivings may whisper to you at vulnerable moments, you can afford to wait until you’re operating from a moment of real clarity toward an outcome of mutual benefit.

This may mean letting go of unrealistic dreams which are a product of earlier phases of your journey, when you were a much younger Fool. Releasing your grip on these follies is good practice, because they have a funny way of returning to us in another form even as we pursue new ones. 

Whatever is revealed to you through The World in the months to come, Querent, you know you can trust its veracity.

Astrological YULE significance (December 21st)

Today is the 21st of December- the winter solstice of the Northern Hemisphere and summer solstice of the Southern Hemisphere.

It is also the last day of Sagittarius Sun, and the days are now growing longer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the nights are becoming shorter.

In astrology, the soltices represent the transition of Gemini to Cancer on June 21st, and Sagittarius to Capricorn on December 21st. Notice how these are sister signs? (Gemini/Sagittarius, Cancer/Capricorn).

On December 21st, the winter solstice, the transition from Sagittarius to Capricorn represents our transition from the carefree spirit to the steady soul. The beginning of a new year (with respects to the Earths move on its axis, not the 12 month calendar) means that there is now a need for foundation-building. The last day of Sagittarius pushes us forward and the coming Capricorn will allow us to look back at the past year and make adjustments that will last, and keep us going strong.

Being the heart of winter, Yule marks the last ‘push’ (Sagittarius) to get us through and new strength to carry us (Capricorn) to the warmer months.

Banana & Pumpkin Spice Bread with Dark Chocolate

There is a word in Swedish that specifically describes that warm, comforting feeling you get when cozying up to a fire, tea cup in hand, and the taste of sweet baked bread lingering in the tongue. Fika is only specific to northern countries where days become shorter and nights colder during the long winter months. Growing up in Puerto Rico there was no need to cozy up to anything. We were sweating through the day; findings respite in shaded spaces, with just enough sea breeze to easy all troubles away. When moving to the states, I discovered the power of tea in negative digit temperatures and the gratifying effects of well-spiced cookies. Banana bread gained a whole new meaning and so did ginger cookies. These previously irrelevant treats now seemed essential to survival. They magically warmed up the bones and soothed the mind.

Fall baking should feel like a warm hug: always be spicy, mildly sweet, and decadent. This quick bread is a delicious hybrid of banana and pumpkin bread. The secret ingredient is butternut squash. When mixed with a ripe banana, almond flour, and oatmeal, butternut squash pure serves as a super moist base to a super moist bread. It is seasoned with fresh ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, and cloves, the topped with rich dark chocolate. Gently sweetened with maple syrup and a few dates, this cake is decadent without being overtly sweet. The balance between the aromatic spices, sweet bananas, and savory cake, against bitter chocolate makes for one tasty treat.

Perfect for breakfast, this recipe is best when served warm with a tall mug of steamy tea. Cozy up!

Banana & Pumpkin Spice Bread with Dark Chocolate

Cook time 60 minutes

Serves 8 

  • 1 large extra ripe banana
  • 1 cup roasted butternut squash or pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 dates
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger
  • ¼ tsp. cloves
  • 1 ½ cups almond flour
  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 
  • ¼ cup chopped dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil. Line with parchment paper. Set aside.

Add bananas, squash puree, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla,coconut oil, and spices to a blender. Pulse until smooth and well incorporated. Add dry ingredients and pulse until well incorporated.

Pour batter into greased pan. Add chocolate chunks over the top. Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely before transferring out. Tastes best warm.

Title: For you, I wil fight (Bonus chapter) 
Rating:
Summary: Sasuke doesnt know how to quell his desire to see the person he’s trying to change for the most, the only thing he does know is that just a few hours with her will never be enough. He wants a lifetime. 
a/n: This was practice for writing sasuke but now its a bonus chapter, and it can be read as a stand alone without reading the whole story. I also a little tempted to write a bonus chapter about how little salad was made (hehe) 
read on ao3 here

Chapter 2.5  

He thinks of her more and more as the nights grow shorter. The warmth in the air mimics the warmth in his chest when her face flashes through his mind.

This will be his second spring without her, if he lets it.

And Sasuke must let it.

He can’t give up now no matter how tempting running back to Kohona is. He almost thinks it’s impossible that just a short time ago he wanted to destroy it.

Almost.

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SSS Call for Fic: Baby It’s Cold Outside! (December 13th Edition)

As the temperature drops for us here in the Northern Hemisphere**, and the days grow shorter and the nights longer - we need some lovin’ to warm us up and keep us happy.  Thus the call for fic… Let’s cuddle up to some warm, cozy, and sexy fic.  

Guidelines:  Tom Hiddleston smut.  (Tom or his characters) NSFW, 18+, Rated M.

Theme:  Cold Weather, Winter Holidays

Submissions: A link to your fic, the Tumblr name to credit, a short summary

Deadline:  December 13, 4 p.m. Pacific time.

Send to:  hiddleslores@gmail.com

** you peeps in the Southern Hemisphere are welcome, too!

The 2016 Spring Equinox

Today is the Vernal Equinox and the first day of Spring. We made it!

The length of a day and night are nearly equal on the occasion of an equinox. In this case, the days have grown longer and the nights shorter. After today, the hours of daylight will exceed that of darkness at night. 

To me, an equinox represents a tipping point. Although the nights have been growing shorter and the days longer ever since the winter solstice, it’s not until after the equinox that you really feel the change in season. I’m already starting to feel an uptick in energy as the spring seems to be awakening early this year. 

Use this day’s equinox to reflect on what balances have been shifting within you. Does something need re-centering? Or is something new growing within you? What is it time to let go of?

For me personally, I have been very preoccupied with outer responsibilities and tasks over this winter. Medical school applications and disappointments, new jobs, new relationship, and so on. At this point I feel as though I have found a solid balance with all of those things. I can keep up with them smoothly. Now I find that my attention is returning to the teachings of enlightened sages and gurus. 

I can feel a time is coming in which I will deepen my practice once more. Today gives me an opportunity to acknowledge this for myself and honor its unfolding. 

I wish you all a very merry and prosperous Spring!

Namaste :)

Cutting It Close - Calum Hood

REQUEST:  Hmmmm hubby cAL imagine? THANKS gurls

A/N: Thank you for your request, beb.  I literally love this gif because… Grant Gustin.  I have another imagine in the drafts.  I hope you guys like this one.  Let me know what you think.
-Raevyn

MASTERLIST

Originally posted by painfulblisss

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November welcomes wailing winds, as their goal is to leave every tree without a single leaf. Autumn rains wash away every trace of leftover summertime warmth. Days grow shorter and nights grow colder, and though the year is nearing it’s end, there’s a refreshing promise in the air that everything will soon begin again.
—  november’s truth (autumnablaze)
Last Night of Freedom

Prompt: Amelia, Meredith, Callie, Maggie, Arizona and April are arrested during Amelia’s bachelorette party. The guys (including Derek) have to bail them out of jail.

They say your bachelorette party is your last night to be single, do whatever your heart desires, dance on tables, be wild, your last night of freedom. It’s supposed to be one last hooray with your closest friends, one last time to get crazy and be stupid, the last night before the life of marriage consumes you. As Amelia thought about this, she realized maybe one last tonight of freedom wasn’t the best idea, seeing she was sitting in a jail cell with Meredith, Maggie, Arizona, April, and Callie.

Four Hours Earlier
Amelia stood in front of the bathroom mirror, only in her bra and underwear, putting on the finishing touches of her makeup. Owen was in their bedroom, throwing on his bachelor party outfit, praying the guys didn’t want to get too rowdy tonight. He knocked on the bathroom door for his fiancé, “Aims you almost done in there?”

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Autumn is in full swing, and the Northeast US is a riot of colors. What causes this seasonal change? We’ve got the answers to all of your fall foliage questions here:

WHERE DO LEAF COLORS COME FROM?

Leaves are green in the summer because they contain a great deal of the pigment chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is necessary for the process of photosynthesis, which plants use to make food.

Chlorophyll is not the only pigment in leaves, but during the summer there’s so much of it that no other colors can be seen. Leaves also contain carotenoids—yellow, orange and brown pigments that give color to such foods as carrots and bananas. In the fall, some leaves produce red pigments called anthocyanins, which are also found in fruits like cranberries and blueberries. 

WHAT TRIGGERS A LEAF TO CHANGE COLOR?

As autumn approaches, days become shorter and nights grow longer. Trees respond to the decrease in sunlight by slowing down production of the green pigment chlorophyll. As the amount of chlorophyll drops, yellow, orange and brown pigments (carotenoids) become visible. In some trees, dwindling light levels cause other changes inside the leaf. For instance, the concentration of sugars often goes up, which causes the formation of red pigments (anthocyanins).

DOES WEATHER AFFECT AUTUMN COLORS?

Only a little bit. Although some people assume that leaves change color in response to cooler weather, it’s really the shorter days of fall that signal to trees that it’s time to prepare for winter. But weather does affect the intensity of leaf color. Seasonably warm and sunny fall days combined with cool (but not freezing) nights seem to produce the most stunning autumn colors. In addition, fall colors can be delayed by a severe summer drought.

DO LEAVES ON ALL TREES CHANGE COLOR?

No. Trees like pines, spruces and firs are “evergreens”—their leaves are always green. These trees generally have tough needle-shaped leaves that can withstand cold weather. In fact, individual leaves on evergreens can stay on the tree for several years.

ARE CERTAIN COLORS ASSOCIATED WITH A PARTICULAR KIND OF TREE?

Yes. The chart below lists some common trees and their typical fall leaf colors.

 ASPEN:                Golds

BEECH:               Yellows and Tans

DOGWOOD:        Deep Reds

ELM:                    Browns

HICKORY:            Golds

OAK:                   Reds and Browns

RED MAPLE:        Bright Reds

SOURWOOD:       Deep Reds

SUGAR MAPLE:    Orangish Reds

Can’t get enough fall foliage? Check out our Pinterest board Autumn at the Museum

The Irony of Winter

These days the sun feels more distant
scientists ascertain it is this time of year
while poets see within each falling leaf
an orange yellow tie died mother’s tear

Spring’s arrival signals life and renewal 
winter’s icy touch feels heavy with death
ironically though her grip holds us close
sharing I love you sighs in every breath

There’s a certain sadness to the season
her days ever shorter her nights colder
yet blankets and bed grow more inviting
your arms are warmer and love is bolder