Today’s walk happened in the last 40 minutes of sunlight. My neighborhood is not too far from downtown, but also not too far from a couple of trailheads that go into a wooded corridor.
Barred owls were calling to each other. Whoo-hoo-hoo-HOO. Whoo-hoo-hoo-HOO. Where are you? I’m here. Like my husband and I yelling, “What?” to each other from different rooms.
And the neighborhood gang that has been raiding yards and gardens was caught in the act (see above.) I’ve watched these young ‘uns grow up during the course of this year, having seen them first when the two tawny ones were awkward spotted fawns stopping traffic in front of my house.
I don’t know why it surprises me when animals adapt and make their homes in cities. I’ve done the same thing, after all. I can’t begrudge them too much for the tomatoes they’ve eaten. They left us plenty, and we humans keep taking more and more land for buildings. They’ve got to feed the family somehow.
I put on blinders to everything that needs to be done at home and went out for a bike ride with Frieda this morning before the temperature reminded me too harshly that it’s still summer. Like most everyone right now, I find it a constant effort to manage my stress levels. I would love to go camping and spend a few days unwinding, but that’s not possible at the moment. So I take what micro-breaks I can get — sitting on the deck for a few minutes in the evening with a mocktail (I don’t drink much alcohol) and some music, or finding a less-traveled spur of the MKT Trail where I can be “away from it all” for a couple of minutes, right in the city.
The illusion of being out of the city:
On the main trail, an interesting rock with an interesting puddle in an indentation.
In an effort to learn more about the rock, I took an accidental selfie. In case you can’t read the print, the rock is several million year old limestone. I wonder how many other creatures have stopped to look at it throughout the millennia.
One of the great blessings in my life is that somehow I have become acquainted with a number of accomplished writers, artists, craftspeople, and musicians. I try to save most of my book, art and music budget for those independently producing their own work, or who are just starting out — folks who have worked hard to produce something great, but haven’t already amassed a huge amount of money doing so. It’s important at all times to support independent artists, but even more so currently.
I wondered what I could do to help promote this. And then it came to me. Aha! I’m a blogger. I can at least let my few readers know about some artistic delights of which they might be as yet unaware. I’m going to try to do this semi-regularly.
First up is Triflemore, touring musicians who describe their sound as zenfolk. I met them first as good and caring neighbors, discovering later they’re excellent musicians as well.
I’m not expert enough in musical parlance to write in-depth reviews. What I can say is that the feel of their music often makes me envision rolling green hills and groups of people sitting around fires, visiting after a long day of productive work. Definite Celtic vibes, with contemplative lyrics that somehow pull off the paradox of feeling grounded while simultaneously taking flight.
A friend introduced me to a new piece of exercise equipment for writers. It’s simple and basic, and therein lies the beauty. It’s call authorcise, and can be found at nevernotcurious.com.
When you click on it, a prompt appears, along with a countdown clock. You have 150 seconds to write, following the prompt or ignoring it, as you choose. At the end of 150 seconds, you have three options — stop and let your work disappear; download what you’ve written to your computer; or keep writing for another 150 seconds.
It doesn’t sound like any time at all, but once I start, I’m surprised at how much I can produce in two and a half minutes. I’ve found it useful just to get me going and in the writing frame of mind, like doing warmups before physical exercise, or finger exercises before playing the piano. But I think it could also be valuable for works in progress, to help you muscle through when you’re bogged down.
Lately, I’ve been pretty exhausted by my job and things. Stuff. Events. Tasks. Overthinking. Worry.
Normally I work Tuesday evenings. But I had some vacation time to use, so I’m able to blog instead. I couldn’t have better timed my ask for random hours off. Gorgeous evening for walking and trying to focus on the miracle that is every day nature.
Amazing how life can look so different if you change your vantage point. Perspective is a heck of a thing.
It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been working a lot. But I’m popping with some fun news.
My short story, “Efficiency Leads to Fulfillment,” is published in the summer edition of The First Line. If you look at their site, that’s volume 22, number 2. Print copies of the issue can be ordered for $6, or a pdf is available for $3.
Or if you want to wait a couple of years until my contract with them expires, you might be able to read it for free.
Poor Frieda was left at home when I went out to ride today. My husband makes a weekly bicycle pilgrimage to what locals call the Big Tree. Today, I invited myself along. He dusted off our 30-year-old Burley tandem, Tandy, and we took it. It’s the only way I can keep up with him.
We’ve nearly sold good old Tandy a time or two, and she’s spent long periods of time in storage. I’m glad we still have her, though.
Here’s the Big Tree, a 400-year-old (more or less) bur oak at McBaine, Missouri.
Spouse included for scale in this one.
Some close-up photos of tree parts:
Think about it. This tree was here long before George Washington was born. I imagine it’s seen some things.