It’s about me.
I’m on the steep grass hillside up the Ute Ridge trail looking north. Gunnar is next to me, sitting, watching. Haven’t seen another person since I left the ranch. There are big fat clouds randomly shading the open expanse of water and the cradling hills on either side. Not dark clouds. They hold no weight. I don’t think it’s going to rain. With all this wind whipping the earth dry again, I sort of wish it would. I packed a jacket just in case. You can’t see far. The last mountain range is blurring into obscurity by blown up sands or silt from the charred hillsides down river.
I think the last time I was here was when we silently watched the smoldering remains of the Papoose Fire on the other side of the Rio Grande Reservoir. Seems like a long time ago. This time last year. There were no cars on the road when I looked down then like there are now, leaving a trail of pale brown dust in their wake long after they have passed.
Random notes on the Season and Life.
Big snow banks getting small. The river is going down. Now it’s as high as I’ve ever seen high waters in the dozen years before this. June winds so strong we hope the outhouse doesn’t blow over again. My skin is wind burned and eyes are bloodshot from working out there in it all day and there is too much to do to stay inside.
Progress on the new cabin. The floor joists are measured carefully, cut in the wind with sawdust flying, and securely screwed in place, blocked and insulated. I can’t wait to start with the logs. Almost there…
We’re a good team. Not a day passes without my thinking I’m the luckiest lady alive to be out their building a home with my boys. A real home this time.
Nineteen degrees in the morning and those spectacular wild iris on pasture froze, gave up and surrendered, folding over purple face down. Up here, it’s hard on wildlife, harder still to garden.
Roaring wind and raging
A fervent embrace
From the wild beast
While around me
Remains of last
Circle about courting me
In a whirlwind dance
Of tangled life and
Before me on the little table that contains three steaming coffee cups, remnants of last night’s dinner, our open laptap computers, and promises of the breakfast to come. And in that clutter, my proof copy of The Last of the Living Blue! It’s beautiful – what a wonderful job NorLights Press has done again. Thank you, Sammie. Some time between setting the plywood over floor joists and riding in to check the ditch, I’ll read (at least, skim) it over one more time (yes, one more damn time… by tomorrow) and then off it goes to press. Yippeee!
Oh, so that part about me?
Well, it started with this.
At the Tattered Cover event last week where I was promoting my first book, The Color of the Wild. The event, on a side note, and much to my surprise, was quite fun. A super big THANK YOU to all those who joined me, turned out, showed support, listen and talked with me, and to the many wonderful new faces I was able to meet. Anyway, in the presentation, I touched on this, with regards to writing memoir:
“Memoir is a medium for sharing intimate views – in my case, besides my views of nature, I share glimpses into personal issues, losses, pain, sadness. And growth and good stuff too. Memoir allows introspection both for the reader and the writer… Sharing your world, exposing oneself, bleeding with words on paper… Ultimately, it all ends up being about words. I want my words to sound good. I want my writing to read well aloud.
“Yes, the story is about me. It’s my story, my view.
“On the other hand, memoir opens odd doors of others hoping/wishing/assuming it’s about them, so you learn to leave their concerns and comments behind, and focus on what you set out to do.”
Bottom line: This is my story. And most importantly, I hope, a well written one.
Alas, here I am with my second book coming out end of the month, something I humbly consider an achievement and accomplishment, and from what I’m seeing in the reviews and reception, it is well done. But around these parts, I’m more likely to hear, “Oh no, you’ve written another book” rather than “Right on, you’ve written another book.” Interesting. So much for celebrating and sharing in your victories. Sad but true.
The truth comes out. Who really cares about you? And… what kind of people are they, anyway?
Fortunately, part of growing up is choosing. I’m so grateful for the loving, caring, supportive family, friends and readers I do chose, and who have chosen me. Thank you. If I haven’t told you all before, I’m also so thankful for the kind notes those who have been touched by my writing have taken the time to share with me. That is the reason we write, share our words and world. That makes it all worthwhile.
Maybe you have heard that blood is thicker than water, as if that would solve matters, demand forgiveness, and make dysfunctional families okay. It doesn’t work for me. I can’t help but wonder: Since when is thick a good thing, a compliment, something to strive for, a positive personal quality?
Sometimes, blood is simply stickier than water. Know when to wash your hands.