Thursday, September 29, 2011

Do You See What I See?

A pair of them came calling at the sliding glass door one evening after dark, as curious about me and my light as I was about them and their noise.   Or maybe they've learned that light at night in a house that is commonly dark might mean good trash.   Whether they were more curious or expectant,  I was all curiosity from my side of the door.  First came a great deal of leaf rustling outside on the deck, then a scritch scratch on the glass, then two sets of front paws pressed against the glass, followed by two adorable raccoon faces peering back at me.   I leaned over the arm of my big comfy reading chair to get a better look at them.  The light from my reading lamp shone directly on them for a clear view.  We were less than two feet apart, but they didn't run.  Quite the opposite.

They pulled up straight with deadpan faces, turned to glance at each other, then back at me---not unlike those funny tv commercials where someone says something inane and the other person responds with a  blink that says the statement has registered, but the receiver doesn't immediately know what to make of it.  That's how the raccoons responded to my face in the glass.  I laughed out loud.  They calmly backed down and walked away.

It's a lovely comical memory from my recent writing retreat on Wilmington Island,  and I send my gratitude to good friends Paul and Carla for the use of their vacation home overlooking the Wilmington marsh.  It is for me a place for rest, reflection, and slow passage of time.  A sacred place free of tv, radio, news, music, calendar, and interruptions.  A place to feel fully steeped in the simple complexity of the natural world---none of it remotely interested in me or my writing---with the possible exception of the raccoons---all of it alive with the energy of the universe.  A place that offers the luxury of burrowing deep into story and staying there, day and night, and sooner or later, despite powerful avoidance strategies, to write.  Six more chapters drafted.

Thanks, Paul and Carla.  Your names will be in the acknowledgment page if this manuscript ever gets whittled enough to find a publisher!  dkm

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sunsets Eternal

 "This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls." 
John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (1838-1914)

 Forever followed, never reached, what is there more alluring than the spectacle of a setting sun perpetually leading the way over the western horizon?  Having grown up in the land of the big sky, Kansas, where stunning sunsets are not rare, I discover in my adult life in Georgia, where they are,  that I am easily beguiled by the prospect of an inspiring sunset.  While I've come to depend on the soothing effect of the trees of Atlanta, I will ever be drawn to that mysterious evening mix of cloud and light, never the same in hue or contour.  So it is that when I go to a beautiful place on a writing retreat, I make an effort to get to a place of quietude by sunset time.  The most beautiful ones defy the camera.  Last October, one memorable sun sat right down on the end of a long ribbon of highway I was traveling and filled up my windshield.  My throat still catches at the memory of it. Below are a few recent captures in San Francisco, Gulf Breeze, FL, Lake Junaluska, SC,  Wilmington Island, GA.   Nothing like a good sunset to stoke an aspiring writer for another chapter.  dkm