That Time Between Autumn and Winter . . .

Adapted from writings
by McKenna Kaelin

The Month of Remembrance

At an early age, I was kidnapped by the love of flowers. A love that continues today. One of the earliest photos of myself was taken at my aunt and uncle’s farm, in Indiana, with a stem of hollyhocks in hand.

While painting a wall of six-foot-tall flowers at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs I added hollyhocks in remembrance of my aunt Virginia. 

My Mother passed during surgery the year I was painting a mural inside the entrance to the indoor pool at the resort. In remembrance of her, I painted her likeness on a nymph in the border under that mural. Within that border, I also painted a likeness of the Broadmoor historian and the architect who were instrumental in hiring me for the more than 30 areas I painted there. The freedom to include special memories in my murals is awesome. Oh, the stories my murals could tell.

A Recent Project

In 2016 I was privileged to visit my favorite muralist, Clare Basler, at her castle in the countryside of France. While strolling through her studio I stopped at a vase filled with radiant red and white Parrot Tulips, some of which were beginning to wane. The photos I snapped that day were the inspiration for these three small framed acrylic paintings, each measuring 7.5″x7.5″. They are available for purchase. You can contact me for pricing,


At this writing, Southeast Georgia hasn’t had many cold nights. Cool temperatures become more consistent around Thanksgiving and continue through early to mid-February. Shorter winters suit me. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from autumn to spring. That’s a pleasant thought on cold, damp, overcast winter days.

This time of year, as slight breezes pick up, the leaves fall in showers. The dahlias and mums are still in bloom but there is rowdy competition from the trees and shrubs.

The old stump near the woods is spotted with moss and draped with mushrooms. This fall it is surrounded by miniature white mums and pansies to accent its beauty.

The Factory Shoals River is still a welcome respite. It’s a small pleasure that temporarily quenches my desire to be close to water. As I hike through the woods to the water’s edge I pass decaying tree trunks with delicate ferns growing from the moss and lichen-covered bark, the ruffle edged mushrooms add interest against a background of fallen leaves.

My favorite spot is a large boulder at the water’s edge. It’s over five feet tall with enough area on top to spread a blanket. I sit and listen as the sound of rapids drifts over me. I read, write, and take notes as creative ideas pop into my head.

Ahhhhh, the clarity that comes with the seemingly mundane. This is my semiretirement in Georgia. (Smiling as she writes)

Here’s a mesmerizing treat just for you . . .
Starling Murmurations

(click on the photo to view the video)

Happy Holidays and may your New Year be filled with good health, peace, and love!


21 comments to That Time Between Autumn and Winter . . .

  • david norman borden

    Thanks for posting. Very enjoyable getting to know you just a bit more.

    • That’s nice, Dave. Thank you for reading my little newsletter. After a few years of writing it was a pleasant surprise to realize that I enjoy writing as much as I enjoy painting.

  • Vickie M
    Dec 6, 2022, 2:01 PM


    if you ever need an assistant – let me know – it is something I’d love to learn about.


  • Mickey Baxter-Spade
    Dec 12, 2022, 8:52 PM (1 day ago)

    to Vickie

    And so, Vickie, what exactly would you love to learn about? 😉
    • relaxing with fuzzy socks, a warm drink, and a good book?
    • my mundane semi retirement?
    • seeing the beauty and wonder left in the world?

    Thanks for commenting!!! I’m still loving your art!

    Big Christmas hugs to you


  • JOAN M
    Tue, Dec 6, 2022, at 1:29 PM

    Thank you so much. I needed to be reminded of the beauty in this world!


  • It’s sad that our media has instilled so much fear that some of us miss out on the beauty that surrounds us everyday.

    Hugs. Mickey

  • mary A
    Tue, Dec 6, 5:21 PM

    So good to hear from you Mickey!
    Love the newsletter and also the parrot tulips!
    What a little cutie pie you were as a toddler. Are these photos such a treasure now.
    Have a great holiday season!


  • Hello Dear Friend,

    Thank you for commenting on my paintings. The photo of me was sent by my cousin’s wife a few months before she passed. It’s one of a few that I have in my possession. Cutie pie, I love that old term.

    Wishing you all the Magic Christmas and the New Year have to offer!


  • DeAnne D
    Tue, Dec 6, 5:45 PM

    Mickey dear,

    Thanks for another beautiful expression of beauty. Anything and everything you touch and create sings with your special beauty.
    I especially enjoyed the starling murmurations video. It reminds me of seeing one years ago in the Texas panhandle. I was driving through in the late afternoon. The aerial magic could be seen for miles. I got as close as possible to pull over and get out. The untold zillion birds were exhibiting their dance over corn stubble fields. What a mesmerizing experience. It is a divinely orchestrated event. What a privilege to view the live event. Thanks for your exquisite visual memory tap. You do it to me everytime.

    Love your magic and love you. Have a continued special Autumn.
    With gratitude,

  • Oh my dear DeAnne, you always make my heart sing with your kind, poetic words. So happy you liked the starling murmurations video. That video may be the closest I get to seeing that kind of magical beauty up close and personal. You were very blessed to by chance be driving in the right place at the right time. I’m thinking your mom set that up for you. 🙂

    I’ve heard you had a lovely autumn in Colorado Spring and now the snow warnings. Stay warm and safe.

    Love you bunches! Happy Holidays, Mickey

  • Thea Fiore-Bloom
    Tue, Dec 6, 6:42 PM


    Just wanted to send my deep condolences on the loss of your mother.

    ANd to tell you I LOVED the image of you as a girl, just pure magic.
    ANd also so glad the murmurations were meaningful to, and that you shared them with others.

    xo Thea

  • Thea Fiona-Bloom

    Season’s greetings, Thea!

    Thank you so much for taking time to write during such a busy time of year. It is always such a treat to hear from you. I appreciate your condolences of my mother’s passing.

    Did you notice the Eiffel Tower on the little note pad that tied into the story of my trip to France? I thought I was so clever. 😉

    I love your beautiful and informative newsletters. 🙂

    Thanks again for stopping by,
    Big Magical Holiday Hugs to You, Mickey

  • Mary C
    Wed, Dec 7, 3:27 PM


    Beautiful thoughts, beautiful words!


  • Thank you so much, Mary! I always appreciate you popping in to comment.

    Wishing you and Mo a Wonderful Christmas!


  • Kathleen H
    Thu, Dec 8, 12:30 AM

    Just a note tonight, Mickey…
    I have read and re-read your Newsletter –
    Loved the photos and your history with the Broadmoor Resort…
    And how you cherish the freedom to include special memories in your murals.
    The Hollyhocks and your Mother…
    Loved the photo of you as an itty-bitty girl!
    Reminiscing about your “favorite spot- a large bolder at water’s edge…”
    Your description draws your readers in – I personally felt as if I was there with you…

    Thank you for including and gifting me with your Artistic and Writing talent!
    Be well – Be safe – Be joyful and blessed…

  • Oh Kate,

    You say the nicest things. Your recap of my newsletter was truly a joy to read. Thank you so much! I am honored to call you friend.

    Lots of hug and love coming your way,


  • Telise R
    Tue, Dec 6, 7:13 PM


    You went to France and saw Claire Basler????? I have seen her castle and studio on the internet – with MAJOR STUDIO ENVY!!! Does she give tours? Is it as fabulous as it looks on screen?


  • Holiday Greetings to you,Telise, and Charlie!!

    I ordered Clare’s book and the next thing I knew I got an invitation to her annual open house at her castle. My sister, her husband and I went to Paris, then to the countryside, to see Clare. She had just moved into her new studio which didn’t look like a working studio at that time. Photos do not do it justice. The parrot tulips I snapped were in her old studio and it wasn’t too shabby, at all, also quite large. It looks to have been a greenhouse at one time. Everyone was allowed to walk through the castle with the exception of a few rooms that were closed off. She and her staff were so friendly. Neither Clare nor I spoke each other’s language fluently but my sister snapped a shot of us laughing together. It was such an honor to visit her and see her work in person. I believe she has had shows in New York and Arizona before Covid.

    I sent you some photos taken at her studios. The top photo was of Clare’s enchanted castle, Château de Beauvoir, from inside the premises. The entry to the castle was through an archway on the right. This trip was definitely one of the highlights of my life.

    We continued our trip to Rome, Florence, Pisa, Tuscany, and Venice. I fell in love with every city I visited.

    Thanks for writing! Mickey

  • Mickey

    Dan A
    Tue, Dec 6, 3:04 PM

    Hi Mickey,

    Happy Holidays and may there be many more.

    Dan Anderson

    • Mickey

      Happy Holidays to you, too, Dan! So nice to hear from you. You just popped into my head a few days ago. I was wondering if you are still working, hiking, mapping? Hope you are doing well.

      Take care, Mickey

      • Mickey

        We are temporarily in Cheyenne, WY. looking for a place to move to.
        Haven’t had much luck so far but hopefully early next year. When we are
        in a more permanent location, I might look for something part time.

        Still try to get out hiking for exercise and peace of mind. We did a
        trip to the west side of Kebler Pass in CO for the fall colors.
        However, even though we were a couple of weeks later than a trip a few
        years ago, the vast array of aspens lower down were still mostly green.

        I still record trails that I am hiking and plan to post some maps on the

        I hope you and your family and friends are doing well. I enjoy getting
        your newsletter.

        Take Care,

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