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 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?
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