Sunday, April 29, 2012

What's the story Morning glory? What's the tale, Nightengale?

Dust. The smell of clean earth, blown in a cool wind across the shade trees of the plains.

 Mile after mile along to the horizon, the bright-blue sky highlights white fluffy clouds and open fields dancing in the breeze, bordered by rows and alcoves of shade trees.

Oak. Elm. Black Walnut. Redbud. Soapberry.

The plains are open without being desolate. The open space is vast, expansive and comfortable to the mind, soul and body.

The wind often howls and whistles on the plains: true.

Dust is blown around in swirls, the same as autumn leaves in the gusts of their season.  Mini whirlwinds twirling and spiraling; lifted up around and over the heads of the children, on the playground which smells of gravel.

Then the leaves settle again, floating down to their bright-eyed, disappointed features.

Thunderstorms that boom and rattle the shelves and the windowpanes. Lightening that crackles and splits the night sky in charcoal, gray, white and purple bruises. Sweeping rains that dance and sing their lament on the roof; drumming so loudly that one must place one's lips to a companion's ear to be heard.

The scariest of all: tornado.

Sirens screaming and blaring through the silent still before the storm.

The calm that isn't.

The richness of the shadow that builds, smelling fresh and exciting and electric.

The seemingly unnatural dark that floats over the land, which should be impossible given that the sky is lit gently from within; glowing, like a light-box covered in opaque paper, brighter shades where the cover is thin-- but we on the ground looking up are still in shadow, though our eyes are bathed in the eerie, muffled, glow.

Water is the most important on the plains.

Shade is too.

Without water the heat lightening storms that ravage the land and the people will strike fires in the tinderbox of the plains.

Drought happens almost every year, but some years are worse than others.

Here in Colorado, we're always on water conservation watch. There are whispered words of ice-flow,  snow pack...

Rain-barrels are illegal in Colorado, which even though I've lived here a number of years, still seems stupid to me. As long as the rain in the barrels is used on the lawn, it's IN the water cycle. There is no danger.

In Oklahoma and Kansas rain-barrels are an absolute.

In Colorado, wild-fires are the scariest of all things. The air is dry, the altitude is high, and the conditions are ripe.

In Oklahoma and Kansas, there is also danger of fires, but tornadoes as well, and flooding when the rains finally arrive... though some years, they don't.

In Oklahoma and Kansas, a season's crop can make or break a farmer and a family.

In Colorado, a fire can destroy too many, too quickly.

In Vermont we worry about flash-floods, washed out roads, mud-season, ice and snowstorms and the elements; freezing to death.

In the plains, we worry about surviving the summer and the storms that come with it. Also about the ice-storms that can destroy trees and ground lines and close highways.

In Colorado, we worry about FIRE.

Every place on the map has its worries. Every region has hazards of its own particular and peculiar nature.

I love these wild places I've lived, quite dearly.

Nature is fierce; and she serves to warn, comfort, ravage and release us.

Above all: We must respect where we live to survive.

In OTHER news...

I have about 40 pages of the book written.


I've been taking a break these last few days, because I'm not sure where I want things to go. J tells me to "keep writing and see what happens, then revise after you get it all out," but being the proofreader enthusiast I am, I go back and correct little things as I go.

Today though, I'm back letting the word flow as soon as I publish this post. :-)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Mist Also Rises...

An Exercise in Description and Setting the Tone of the Thing to Which I Apply Myself...

Peeking through the screen door, three sets of eyes gaped out into the charcoal gray of morning.

 Four paws leaned up against the faded red carvings edging the screen.

Fresh, crisp air, smelling of rain rolled through into the house like waves in a gray, misty ocean of atmosphere.

The warm, golden glow from the kitchen seeped through the doorway into the library like a backlit honeycomb.

Shapes spoke softly inside the house, whispering to one another.

Shifting, the shadows beginning the new day were filling up the crevices, moving through every nook and cranny, chasing out the thick cloak of the evening and night.

No birds could be heard outside the house.

The barren trees surrounding the dwelling stretched upwards. Thick, corded trunks splitting into multiple armed branches tipped with spindly fingers, twisted in a pleading agony of frozen motion.

The trees held a memory of past pain.

A letter, delivered to the wrong person at the correct address, lay on a carved, footed table by the door. Its green envelope seemed to glint angrily in the beginnings of the morning light, as though it knew the folly of its outdated correspondence.

A small boy pressed his face further against the screen; his cheeks against the crisscrossed weave with his hands resting in his pockets.

The larger of the two enormous cats, standing on his hind legs and pressed up against the boy's left side, was head level with the child; as long as he was tall, like a small mountain lion leaning into the smells on the breeze. His golden head gently rubbed against the boy's ear, and a throaty purr began to fill the silence.

The other feline, dark tabby-striped with intense green eyes, dropped gracefully from the screen door and sat motionlessly, stick-straight on the boy's right. The top of his head came to the child's chin.

The boy was five years old, tall and wise for his age, though slender and handsome for a child so young. Having met him, one would assume he was perhaps a year or two older; his hazel-eyes betrayed an intelligence that some mistook for arrogance.

A soft, kind-hearted voice whispered to the child from within the depths of the house. A figure stood in the doorway of the kitchen and beckoned him, a hot cup of liquid held out.

With a sigh, he nudged the great golden cat down and fondly scratching his furry ears, the boy wondered how great a dog would be as a companion. The animal padded along beside the human, smiling to himself and half-knocking the boy over by frequently rubbing against his legs.

The huge tabby stayed at attention, facing the front door, almost part of the woodwork, his sinewy body lined up against the deep carvings.

As the boy crossed into the library toward the figure in the kitchen, he was suddenly and quickly scooped up mid-stride into the arms of a tall man who nuzzled him to his chest in a bear hug.

The two were obviously related.  Both had curly dark hair streaked with cinnamon lights, golden-green eyes that shone, and the same toned build: handsome and well-proportioned, if more slender than most men. Their bodies held a strength and flexibility that tied them together; one could not look at them but see resemblance.

A soft laugh escaped the lips of the woman standing in the kitchen holding the cup. Her eyes dark and twinkling, she beamed at them openly and grabbing her husband's arm, pulled the two into the light.

The child swung down expertly from his father's arms and wrapped his own around his mother's waist in a firm squeeze. Tousling the top of his head, she set the cup on an old, scarred kitchen table and rubbed his back.

Leaning casually against the counter, opposite the doorway, the man reached around for a mug and poured himself a fresh cup of coffee from the pot warming by the stove.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I'm not sleeping, but at least my books are being read.

I lay wrapped in the darkness of our room. The sheets and blanket were like hot, stuffy clouds trying to tangle my legs and body. They were preventing comfortable slumber. 

The moon shone brightly through the shutters of our bedroom. I flipped over and lay on my back, gazing up at the ceiling with a sigh.

"J, I'm gonna' go read for a bit, I can't sleep," I whispered to the silent, slender form on my left. His body seemed heavy, but then again he was completely relaxed, so why shouldn't he sink gently into the bed?

"Mmmmphhhhok," came the reply.

I slid out from the hot sheets and my toes hit the cool of the hardwood floor below. 

Tiptoeing to the cedar chest in the library/living room (which is right off our bedroom) I grabbed a quilt and wrapped it around me. 

Shuffling over to the shelves, I grabbed a book at random and padded over to the long couch beneath the window. 

I could most-likely read by moonlight, but my head hurt a bit, so I flicked on the reading lamp. 

I began to lose myself to the first few pages; the glossy black of the cover warming in my hands, the smell of the ink on the pages comforting like the cool quiet of a true library on a hot, busy, summer day. 

The weight of the hard-cover was grounding against my knees as I curled up to enjoy myself.


Books are a rescue for me.

They are an instant relaxation, an escape, an enjoyment, a companion and an inspiration.

Lately, I've been having trouble sleeping, but it's not of the night-terror variety (I've had my fair share of those) it's more of the mind-on-the-wheel type.

The gerbil wheel.

Sometimes at night, I simply cannot shut my brain off. I list things over and over in my head until there's a running strip-- a worried commentary of 'To Do's,' that whirls inescapable.

Lately, I've been reading a lot.

Since I was a child, I've loved books. My folks used to come into my room late at night and confiscate my flashlight because I'd promised "One more chapter," and instead was about to finish the novel.

I always had something in my bag to read during unexpected moments of waiting: for the dentist, to be picked up, in-between classes, at the bus stop.... my book was always there for me.

I remember when I broke up with my first boyfriend... and my second... and my third... I read every single book on my shelves twice. On those occasions I couldn't sleep because I could think of nothing except the giant hole that was pulsating in my chest around my heart.

Books also got me through the death of loved ones, the birth of new ones and everything in-between.

I've always wanted to write a book  and I think I may start today.

 I've no idea what I want to write about, but I'll simply begin.

Maybe someone, somewhere will want to read it.

I probably owe all the authors (past, present and future) and should thereby contribute my own pages to the aid so generously offered by others.

I think it's time I gave something back.

Something beyond poetry, short stories, play plots, bits of dialogue and description.

It's time to write a book.

If only to write instead of read on these sleepless, pleasant nights, and give my bound pages of fellows a break... and a new companion to join their stacks.