Monday, August 27, 2018

Hummingbirds, Snails, and a Heron

Oh my. The fires should be enough to tell me I’m in a different land, but there are so many other signs. Forget the obvious ones, like cactuses and palm trees. I can honestly say I’ve never seen as many hummingbirds as I have in the past few months. I’m sure they exist in the northeast and southeast, but I don’t remember seeing them. I admire their blurry-winged flights daily here. While walking up to a neighbor’s door the other evening, I gasped because I almost stepped on a snail. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve come across one of those. And then one of my favorite encounters . . . I was banging away at my keyboard, working out the final pages of my WIP, when a fascinating heron lands on our deck and decides to perform an elaborate act. Highly entertaining. Five stars. Needless to say, it was a lovely distraction.

I’m enjoying being awake to my surroundings here.

I’ve forgotten what rain sounds like. I almost ran downstairs last week because I thought it might be raining and I wanted to see it, but the gushing sound was only the lawn sprinklers. Certain trees rain here though. Not really, but they drizzle on your head. I haven’t figured out the name of these raining trees, but I have identified that they have flower blossoms in them. It’s pretty wild, and if I close my eyes when I’m under one of these trees I like to pretend I’m being rained on.

I share these things for two reasons. One, paying attention to everything around me helps me to feel more engaged with life. Two, moving like this has done a real number on selecting settings for my novels. Connecticut or New England has been home to most of my characters. I lived there for almost half of my life. It’s the place where my roots had the best chance to grow. During the short stopover in Georgia, I tried to envision characters there. Georgia never cemented as a fresh setting. California, however, is vining around me like a gorgeous Clematis. My eyes are opening to its thriving habitat, the land, and the people. I’m taking it all in. And maybe one day it’ll show up as the backdrop to a whole new cast of characters. Wonder if a heron will show up in that book?

Monday, August 13, 2018

Holy . . . Fire

Hurricanes and tornadoes I’m familiar with. I even powered through eight days without power during New England’s Snowtober years ago. Having moved all around the country, I’ve grown acquainted with all kinds of weather patterns. Seattle rain. Georgia thunderstorms. The sky dumping snow in Connecticut.

But fire? This is new.

I walked outside to enjoy the view from our backyard last Monday only to notice something was off about the strange clouds forming over the mountain range in the distance.

And that something has been burning for the past week. Over a thousand firefighters have labored to put out what’s been dubbed the holy fire. 22,000 acres destroyed.

I watched from a safe distance as the fire traveled over the mountain range and canyon, greeted by a pungent smoky odor every morning. And let me tell you, if I’ve learned anything it’s that fire moves fast.

Only weeks after we left Hawaii earlier this year a volcano erupted. We move here and a few short months later an area of land that hasn’t seen fire for over forty years is suddenly aflame. Curious, that.

Gauging the attitudes of fellow Californians, I sense they’ve grown accustomed to breakout fires. Much like I knew what twelve inches of snow would look like in New England.

I’m telling you, I’ve observed some wild skies in the 40+ years I’ve been on earth, but none compare to what I’ve seen this past week.

*blogging break until Aug. 27th. See you then!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Cheers to this Woman

She taught me how to ask questions. She encouraged me to be adventurous—with food, activities, and my overall attitude about life.

We share a love of reading. We engage in captivating conversations—about politics and parenting.

Since my first memories formed, I’ve been grateful for her support—her never-ending encouragement.

She knows me well and loves me through and through.

I know her well and I love her through and through.

Happy Birthday, Mom! 76 years young today.

Taking Time

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