Letting loose.

April 14, 2014

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rose hips

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cinquefoil

 

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flag seeds

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A time of contradictions.  Harsh and raw. Revealing, emerging, exposing. An open wound.  Healing from the year before.

She has lost her hiding places.  And suddenly, she dances.

I wrote this describing spring.  But somehow it feels personal.  Maybe it is.  Interconnected as one becomes, our selves and our land. Changing with the seasons.

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spring aspen up lost

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spring snow 2

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One day she melts, then next she is covered again as a furious spring storm blows in, lets lose its load and leaves, only to return an hour later.

Up here, we expect it.  Heavy, wet spring snow and the choice to remain indoors comes as a relief, maybe, just for one day, part of a day, and already I’m itching to get back out there.

I see now the innocence, perhaps ignorance, of my intentions.  The intimate view of my first book, exposing an open wound. What was I thinking in sharing this?  Two more of a similar vein completed, and now I find myself bled out.  I’m starting a novel now.  Nothing about me.  I’m making the damn thing up.

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gunnar and forrest

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bob after face plant

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fg5

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forrest going into snow

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Trying to keep my head above water when some days I think it would be easier to just let go.  In my dreams I can breathe beneath the surface. 

Yesterday the mountain lets loose in a wild rage of passion and fury and brown waters, melting snow, exposed earth like pale flesh, and the first fertile signs of sprouting green.

The great big wash that is the great big melting of the mountain began gushing down pasture between the top layer of slushy pink snow and a bottom still of ice, a fine line from cutting deep trenches through our fragile sub alpine soils and stealing it down river.

Sun burn and sore muscles as you can’t call it quits when the air finally feels so good and the long days are hard to leave when the sun still shines.

Morning muses as the mountain thaws and soft pink spreads from the top down as the sun light emerges in the mornings. Geese on the reservoir flats, though there is little open ground.  The air is alive with birds and their songs as I feed the horses in the morning, and hear though never see those owls in the evening as I go out with the dog under brilliant stars and growing moon.

We press spring and push back her snows with Bob’s Cat and there we have mud and we’re not sure it is better or worse but it is spring and the change is always exciting.  Preparing to break ground.  Forgive me, Earth, for cutting into you as we do our best to live with you, lightly beside you. May we not take but give to each other in no other way than letting each other be.

Out on pasture with a couple of curry combs, one in each hand.  I’m going for quantity, not quality here.  Get off some of the dang mud.  Their winter coats are just beginning to shed.  Out in the wind, it becomes an inevitable pig-pen dust storm around each broad back blowing into my squinting eyes.

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tresjur

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tres

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lb and crew

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Releasing.

April 3, 2014

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ciquefoil

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cinquefoil 2

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cinquefoil 3

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Spring winds like ocean waves roar

so far we are from the open sea

releasing brown waters of wild creeks

bringing Sedona sands in sepia skies

And leaving pink snow behind

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lost trail creek

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A silent red tail over the treetops camouflaged in fat flakes of falling snow.

Had I not been looking, I would not know he was there. Back upon our mountain.  I am waiting to hear his screech, the haunting cry that carries far against still frozen cliffs held back from the sun.

Snow drips from the red roof like rain.

Increasing exposure of naked earth.  Transformation from a white and grey world to one that is shades of brown.  Then all is covered again.

We are here while the bear hibernates still and elk remain in lower ground.

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spring ground

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Stirred up in spring winds depositing pieces from some faraway land long exposed to the elements.

And the questions of what will be, will happen and what will tomorrow bring

Are answered with maybe, possibly, who knows, and we’ll see…

And what I hear in the wind is this:

What do I have to lose?

And all I can think to reply

Is a winter’s coat.

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gunnar at snowmachine point

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Birthday week winds down. All my boys, well most of them, celebrated in seven days.  Gunnar, Bob, Crow, Tresjur and finally Forrest.  Time to get back to work.

We had it all planned. Finally, fencing.  My favorite spring chore, would you believe?  Not a popular preference as seen from most fences around these parts found in various stages of disrepair.  But I love it.  How could I not?  Out there with my boys, the mountain, sun and soft spring dirt.

Only it’s not dry. It’s still frozen.  Barely warm enough to hold a fence stretcher and pliers.  And another storm blows in. So this week I don’t think we’ll be working on fences just yet.

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forrest

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Working class.  Leisure being a choice we earn, not a life we are given.  Do we define ourselves according to our work, what we do, our “job” and how many hours we work?  These are things I’m reconsidering from a set of rules I once was taught.  I don’t know the answers, though see they are starting to change.

This is no poor-me syndrome. Don’t you see how lucky we are? You and me both, my friend. We have so much.  Maybe too much.

Life is at first a gift, and then it is ours. We work for it.  And thus we can create it to be whatever we dream.

A dear friend among the leisure class writes of his life based on “ease, health, happiness, and comfort.”

Now health and happiness hold great value, but ease and comfort?  Why?

Our bounty is earned, our rewards respected, and the possibilities are endless.  We are not bound by idle time and the need to be pleased and the fear of losing comfort.

A woman once shared a story of the brass ring she missed.  I wonder – was there only one?

In my ability to quickly stir up rage within me (for better and for worse) I’d  say scrap the tears, turn around and forge a new ring.

Don’t you see these opportunities presented with every challenge?

In theory.  For I am certain I did not and do not always when I live through them, but it sure sounds good to say.

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spring snow

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The last word(s):

Much gratitude to these website than mentioned The Color of the Wild this week.  I so appreciate the support and encouragement!  Thank you:

Indies Unlimited

Bestseller Bound

 

And… I’m very excited about this… I’ll be at the Tattered Cover in Denver in June as part of their Rocky Mountain Land Series.  If you’re from or in the Denver area, please do stop in and join us.  Time, date and location to be announced shortly.

Finally, I wanted to share this link with you.  I posted it on Facebook but don’t believe I’ve put it here, and it’s worth sharing.  It’s important.  This should be required reading for anyone who cares about Colorado and our mountains:

2013 Report on the Health of Colorado’s Forests

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aspen in spring snow

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So it’s spring.

March 24, 2014

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forrest on the top of pole mountain

On the first day of Spring, Forrest atop the mountain behind our ranch, looking down our valley and beyond.

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So it’s spring.  Yes, here too.  In spite of the single digit mornings and a pasture of unbroken white.

I remember what the season should bring, could bring.  Rich soil turned up in garden beds, fresh linens from the line on our bed.  Sweet sap running in the trees. Foals romping outside my window.  I don’t have that here and now.  None of it.  Only memories. So strong I can smell the earth and the sweet sap and the new born baby’s breath.

It’s different here. Still spring, the emerging of warm earth from her frozen slumber, but here and now with a new set of definitions.  Like the sighting of the rufous sided towhee scratching at the seeds I toss out beneath our picnic table, and awaiting the song of the frogs.  Thinning snow that turns to slush in the afternoons and light so intense on the spring glazed surface even cloudy days seem blinding.

We learn to adjust.  Human beings are remarkably adaptable, no matter how stubborn we may seem. No place is perfect.  Thing about this place, with all the trials and tribulations to get here and stay here:  it’s ours. That means something to me.  More so with each passing year, growing connection, memories embedded in the soil.  A glance around and I can point to what fence we built, cabin remodeled, road or trail constructed, which mountain I climbed with which dog in what sort of weather.  A board on the old bedroom door frame records Forrest’s growth in faded pencil marks, and generations of horses – mother, daughter, grandmother – await me at feeding time.

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aspen buds

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Out on a snowshoe alone with the dog.  Gratitude.  It’s easy to find it here.   Ten things a day, a friend and I prompt each other when we find ourselves forgetting.  Yes, I do forget. The space, the light, the beauty, thin air, a mountain that looks as fancy as a wedding cake, solitude, silence but for spring winds and the opening river and birds. Yes, spring brings such song in the early mornings before the wind picks up and late in the afternoon as the shadows are tossed long and indigo upon sugary snow.

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spring leaf

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Living. Dying. This season. Every season.

I remember the dread that came with the risk of the open road bringing conflict and chaos along with cars.  Now I await the open road as the open pasture when we can begin building our place on our land that we have fought for and won.

Bob takes the Cat down there in the afternoon slush and cuts through the open white. The first step towards breaking ground.  Frost just below surface.  We are early still.

And I remember the fear that hung heavy  in the spring storms back then with each birth.  I would rather not remember.  I turn my attention to the mob of chicks scampering about in the giant dog crate between the planters of newly spread lettuce seed and the grass for the cats and dog.  Their happy chirps blending with the melody from the various birds feeding at the picnic table right outside the window.

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cinquefoil

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And now I know

the loss of none

As if I could remember

a babe crying to be nursed

And the sound of children’s laughter

The gentle nicker of the mare to foal

The song of two blue birds

on the top of a spruce tree still green

Where they first arrive here

every year.

The sap won’t run this year.

At times emptiness is a relief.

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bark

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Now I know what is beneath the slipping bark.

I take out the draw knife for the first time this season.  Peeling a small log needed for a remodel project on a neighbor’s bathroom.  With every pull of the knife, tiny white life revealed.  Ten, twenty, maybe  more.  Slicing through life.  Larva.

I know it’s crazy but still I feel sadness.  I am taking life.  Can I look at them as the enemy?  Who is to blame?  I daresay, not the beetles.

Will every log I peel for our house reveal the same?

I need a shower.  Rid myself of their remains which has stuck onto my skin, in my hair, my jeans after working out in the wind.

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leaves (2)

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Author’s  Update.

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With regards to The Color of the Wild, much thanks to all of you readers who posted reviews – what a wonderful help you have been – and for those writers who took the time to share reviews and interviews on their web sites and blogs, especially:

Amy of SoulDipper

Carrie of The Shady Tree

Ray from New Book Journal

Kat from Indies Unlimited

More big news this week is that I just got the word that a select number of Barnes and Nobles bookstores will be stocking The Color of the Wild on their shelves.  Please take a look at your local store and let me know if you see it there!

As for what’s next… Patience (I tell myself).  It’s in the works. Two so close to completion, but we’re not there yet. And I’m not ready to be there.  No, it’s not fear.  Crazy?  Maybe.

This is where my attention should be – getting the next one finished up and ready to go – and yet I find myself shunning the process, intentionally.  I’m not ready.  Isn’t that strange?  It is not lack of words, as you, dear reader, can see.  It is something else.  I need more time.  I need to find a balance between pushing myself, and holding back.  With distance comes understanding.  It’s not reading the same thing over and over.  It allows me to see it all anew.  To pick up the manuscript with a fresh perspective and a bright, eager mind.  Editing need not be a chore.  It can be a pleasure – if you love what you wrote.  And if you don’t , here’s your chance to fix it, and fall in love all over again.

I don’t know how it is for other writers, but for me, I am learning it has to do with trust in timing. Trust and timing.  And knowing when to take a break. To step back before diving in head first…  Then take a deep breath and go for it!

For now, I let it go.  Brew like the beer.  Though I’m starting to get thirsty.

Waiting for words to ripen.

It won’t be long before I open the pages up again, and maybe turn them into fine wine.

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tresjur and koty

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norman

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