In search of a living blue.


bleeding aspen


Allow me share this with you first, a minute of Book Business since that’s what seems to be consuming the majority of my time right now.  And then come with me, back to the mountain…


The Color of the Wild is almost a week old.  I still haven’t seen a hard copy.  I understand it’s beautiful, and have the publisher, Sammie and her team at Norlights Press, to thank for that.

Again, sincere thanks for all the reviewers.  Please keep them coming.  They also mean so much to me.

Starting today, GoodReads  is having a Giveaway for The Color of the Wild.   For those active on GoodReads, you know it’s a great chance to get a free copy.  The promotion lasts today through the 23rd.  If you’re a member of GoodReads, give it a try, even if you already have a copy.  You could always share one copy if you win another.  If you’re not a member, and you love books, it’s a pretty neat sight – I’m new to it, just learning, and definitely enjoying.

A  special note to Bookstores, Book Clubs and Libraries. Thanks to those who have expressed interest and inquired.  For all of you, and any others interested in carrying The Color of the Wild, please contact Sammie, the publisher, directly at ; or give her a call at 1-812-675-8054 .

Everything you read tells you the Amazon numbers are the Big Ones.  But the numbers only matter so much to me.  What I’d like to see is people reading what I wrote to share,  and old fashioned as I may be, I still think a lot of those readers are finding their books at the local library and corner bookstore.  As it’s been three months since I left the mountain, I confess, I’m grateful for Amazon.

So, please keep the book in mind when browsing your local shelves, and ask for it if you don’t see it.  If y’all hadn’t noticed, I’m not a big name yet. (Gin Who?)   So they might not know about it otherwise.

Now, let’s put the Book Business aside and get back to the mountain…


dead needles 2


Muddy horses for the first time in months.  It’s early for mud season.

Big brown circles of fresh, wet dirt beneath the trees.  Odors I have not savored in months. Earth. Rich and raw.

The air is alive with song stronger than the coming of the spring winds.  Redwing blackbirds, chickadees, juncos, grosbeaks.  The Woodpeckers this winter here have been as plentiful as flies on a bloated carcass  Yeah, yeah, I know, that’s an exaggeration .

Lovely birds, but I know what their presence means.

Where there are woodpeckers there are bugs. The more woodpeckers, the more bugs. This winter has been good for both.  Not so good for the trees.  You can see it coming.  Or rather, now you know it’s here.  Hidden beneath the bark.


redwing blackbird


The thermometer reads 47 F (over 8 C) and I don’t know what to wear.  It’s warm.  It’s snowing.

I strap on snowshoes and hope the snow is too warm to stick.

A walk in the woods.  Or rather, a snowshoe.  The temperatures are unprecedentedly high and have been all winter up here but for the most part, our world remains white.  The blanket it getting thin. The only patches of dirt are on the south side of the cabin and exposed steep slopes.   The only dirt I step on still is three, maybe four steps with my snowshoes grating on rock and mud.

Thunder.  I’m sure I heard it.  A quarter mile later, I hear it again.  Ten thousand feet elevation, mid February, it’s almost fifty and still it snows.


slipping bark 2


In search of a living blue.

I’m on this photo safari looking for a live Blue Spruce for the cover of the next book.  I’m inspired.  A wild woman on a crazy mission.

At first glance, you’d think there they’re all over the place. A whole bunch of trees with blue green needles.  Right. Now take a closer look.  You don’t see these things from the airplanes flying over assessing damage nor from your truck window rolled up to the cold.

Yellowing of the needles on the lower branches.

Slipping bark.

New growth of mistletoe.

Pin holes  and dripping sap.

Needles on the snow.

And a pile of chipped bark around the base of the big ones.

You get good at it. Seeing through the last of the green to the tell-tale signs behind.  You get used to the yellowing color, like a child sick with fever.  And the slipping bark. As if the very core of the tree has given all it could to rid itself of the beetle and pushed its own life out in the process.  The bark looks loose.  I don’t know how to describe it.  Like a snake skin preparing to slough off.

You get used to seeing the signs and learn to find them fast.

I try to find a live spruce tree.  I’m not so sure I see one.


dead needles 4


I hope you’re still with me.  I wanted to share this with you.

Calm now, in the soothing comfort of remaining snow and silence.  The time of solitude remains with us, allowing us healing, the mountain and me. I rest, she recovers, my pain and fear are comforted. Life goes on. We adapt, adjust.  Find the beauty in the beetle kill, in the burn.

I want to walk in the burn.

I have not left the mountain since sometime in the middle of November.  I still do not care to leave her, but want to go down to her darker places, below the Dam, in the still long blue shadows and grainy snow that has not and will not set up, and post hole through and be out there, in there, with her.

I think I can handle it now.

The burned face of my beloved.


dead needles


2 thoughts on “In search of a living blue.

  1. I’m not as certain that I can handle it now, but when you go, please share your pictures so I can go, too. Summer is too far away, too long to wait and see for myself – the new beauty.

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