I was on the West Coast last weekend in the sleepy little town of Half Moon Bay and Saturday dawned misty and foggy. After a late, lazy breakfast, I thought I might head into the three-block downtown area and do a little looking. There were shops with clothing and jewelry and blown-glass pumpkins this is a huge pumpkin-growing area with pumpkin patches there each fall. There were gift stores and restaurants and the usual stuff.

And then I found the prize. It was small, about half the size of Dolly's bookstore here, and it had wooden floors and birds in a cage. And little nooks filled with books. Books I did not know. New books, older titles. Locally made honey and gift cards. Wrapping paper in sheets hanging over bars on the wall.

My own misty mood lifted a bit as I wandered the space thinking I wanted this book, no that one, oh hell, maybe both.

I asked if the Ivan Doig book was new or just one I hadn't seen. Turns out it was new in paperback and so I added it to the pile on the counter. His adventures of Montana from "Dancing at the Rascal Fair" to "The Eleventh Man" have given me a love of a place and times I never lived in, not really, but I've lived in for a spell, days at a time, while living on my own porch, in my own bed, in my own bathtub.

The Philip Caputo book spoke to the gypsy in me. Titled "The Longest Road," it is about his travels from Key West to the Arctic Ocean in search of America.


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The Pulitzer Prize winner knows how to tell tales and I look forward to hearing how our country looks firsthand, from the road, from this brilliant guy.

Also new is a nonfiction work by Temple Grandin, a woman I had the good fortune to hear speak a few times and to meet. Her latest book is called "The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum." Temple and her mother have never let her autism define her. And in this book she apparently talks not about the deficits of autism but the strengths.

I thought I was done, but then my eyes fell on the quirky kind of book I usually avoid called "Weird California," and had to flip through the pages. This book showcases wacky places in the state and legends and ghosts that inhabit buildings and the home that has 500 plastic pink flamingos in the yard. It was just too rich to leave there.

Then I had a thought and asked the saleswoman if, by chance, they had the book written by Harry Potter author J.K Rowling under her new pen name. She walked me over to the last volume of "The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith. I felt like I was holding best berry from the crop.

I had the books, and the honey, and some cards shipped back to me, save for the Cuckoo book, which I read on the deck of my little room there by the ocean, listening to the gulls and occasionally glancing up at the flock of pelicans in formation, surveying the eats in the water below me. I read it on the plane home and I am reading it still. It is a big, chewy 450-page novel that is a mystery and a bit of a commentary on the worshipping of false celebrities or temporary gods. We'll see how it finishes.

It is that time of year in Park City, when the Bear Lake berries are in such rich profusion. And you know what they signal. The end of summer. School starting and order and routine back in many lives. The light is slower to touch the trees in the mornings now and leaves earlier each day. The chill at night has a bite to it and sleeping with all the doors and windows open now requires a comforter, not just a sheet.

On the hillsides there is a lightening of the green trees which means they are starting, ever so slowly, to turn. And the grasses in the garden and the appearance of the giant sunflowers all announce the seasons are changing. And I will miss summer. In fact, I feel that I did miss summer, though I know it still has about a month due on the calendar.

Those of us who have lived here long enough know the gift of fall is just around the corner. Golden days and crisp nights and a town of simple pleasures and few events or visitors. 

And a time to catch up with friends. Long talks and walks and dinners with candles lit. Maybe a road trip or two. Packing up the car and letting it find its own way, without hotel reservations or destinations arranged.

Sometimes sadness and feeling blue and moody just need some space and time to unravel all that has become raveled. To sift out the shifting of a life. And for myself, I have always known how to do that: start by filling the birdfeeders, each week, and carve a little time to head in any of the four directions with good music and good books.

Come September, when the summer work is complete, I'll do just that. But for now I will make certain I have birdseed on hand to restart my relationship with the birds, this very Sunday in the Park ...

Teri Orr is a former editor of The Park Record. She is the director of the organization that provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.