Tag Archives: writing

Winter Walk

For the last year it seems I have been in an endless round of edits. Books written over 20 years ago have been fighting for the light of day and chapter by chapter have clawed their way from the battered pages of old notebooks and old floppy disks. This last week I have been compiling chapter names, page numbers, title pages and debating dedications. Today I ordered the proof for book 6 in the series and while there is one more book before I step back from this series, to dive into another, I can see the end top of the wall. So forgive me in this blog, (as I have mentioned earlier) if I don’t edit.
As a lover of words, of clever phrases, of well written and clever insights, I have been known to cringe when I look back at some of the rough draft things I have poster. Then again I remind myself that those things I have read that follow strict rules either of formula or grammar laws I find less then enjoyable. This blog is not however supposed to be about writing. It is about the moment after the order notice came back saying my book proof would arrive on the 3rd. I felt my shoulders drop just a little. I noticed my coffee was just on the cool side and it was snowing like the depth of a Narian Winter outside.
The dog looked at me hopefully!
“Yes please!” She seemed to say.
So still in my fuzzy jamma pants I slipped into boots, grabbed my camera and a go mug of fresh hot coffee. Stepping from the warm indoor and away from the computer, away from the music and away from the endless rounds of nit-picking how to say “said” as many way as possible and not sound like a jack ass, I entered another world.
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Dashing outside the dog stopped, she looked at the snow fall and back to me to make sure I was seriously going to join her on such a great day.
The snow had been coming down since about 4 am and pushing 1 pm it had all but hidden the knee deep foot paths that criss cross the yard from one point to another. A path around back to the water tanks, another to the fire pit; cutting across to the propane tank, to the green house/storage shed and a twisting trail to the solar panels that need to be kept swept clean.
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The fire pit seems lost at this point, only the nearly buried chairs even shows where it hides under the deep blanket of snow.
We waded through the snow to the road with the idea I might hike up tot he spring and try to find the stump I had sat on a month ago to listen to birds and soak in the sun but once on the road looking at the 4 feet of snow on my path and down at my rather unlikely hiking gear I decided to stay to the road. So we walk from one end of the property to the other.
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Thankfully more than one of the neighbours on this little road come though and keep it plowed. Even so the snow was past the top of my boots and trying to get down inside. Even so it was hard to turn back.
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There is a beauty to winter that can not be grasped from behind the wheel of a car trying to get to work. With such views I can only be grateful I do not have to attempt to wind my way down this road to get to work daily. Editing seems a small price to pay for the option.
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It is hard to walk in such a reality and not dream up new stories, eager to be told. A hundred old notebooks whisper at me “remember us? We have such scenery in our pages remember out heroes.”
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All the snow on the trees is from today alone. Yesterday sunshine and a gust of breeze now and then had left the trees clear, their limbs and needles clean and lifted upward.
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For all my desire to be planting things, to be breaking ground for building and sinking in roots it is impossible to not be caught up by the beauty of a mountain forest draped in winter.
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On such a day, in such a deep silence, where the loudest sound is the snow falling, you can almost imagine snow dragons watching from the mountain cliffs above you, of fairies catching snow flakes, or ancient Elves and Druids whispering blessing on the forest and all those who walk among their trees.
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Down by the River

Where I grew up the river was less than a mile from the River my brother and I, as two of the middle children of a family of 8, found escape and entertainment reality of “out of sight out of mind”. We would hurry through chores and dash from the house to grab the three things we needed, sleeping bags, fishing poles, and matches. Each of us geared up we’d take off. Down the driveway and up the road, over the creek, past the told railroad car and under the barb wire fence.
the river
There was too much risk to cross the open field around the old cabin we would keep to the trees, take the long way; hurry through the cattails, duck along the banks and use the ditches for cover as if we were to rebel scouts in enemy territory. Low and fast we stayed alert and hoped we would get far enough away we couldn’t be called back.
Along the way we would pick wild asparagus, watch for carp in the slough, snatch up springs of mint, debate over cattail roots and rose hips, but would rarely bother with either.
Once past the field, across the old wagon road, and over the old culvert we were free.
We’d relax and slow down to an easy stroll. We would pause to pick June Berries, gooseberries, or Buffalo Berries or even Currents depending on the time of year.
We would choose a site that we both knew in the wonderland of the 100 acres of cottonwood forest. Maybe we would choose the Culvert Site, or the bank, the Rocks, the Fishing Hole or the Bank. There we would lift the sod from the fire pit, check the rocks and if we had a tent there or carried along we’d set it up. The next step was always firewood. Grass and twigs were set up to get it going, and wood stacked aside to last the night through. Just close enough to dry out but not so close as to risk catching sparks.
Then- the river
Beaver on the bank
We would fish or go after crawdads in the back waters and side pools.
“Watch the rapids, think like a fish,” he’d say. “Go grab me some grasshoppers…”
With our treasures in hand, never less than one fish we would head back to camp.
Depending on the site we would cook our fish, in a pan, split over the flames on a willow frame or rolled in tin-foil, stuffed with wild herbs and slow baked in the coals. Each site had different “stores”, from salt and pepper in baggies buried in the sand, cans of tomatoes soup to dip crawdad claws in, crackers in sealed tins, even noodles were smuggled out to the Store carefully hidden from random passer-bys as well animals.
We’d spend a week at a time down there, dashing home to get our chores done and take off again.
At night when the coyotes were too close, the river running dangerous high, or the lightning striking too close as the wind tore at out shelters my brother would tell stories.
little fire at the river
Stories of being alone in the artic with a lost polar bear cub as your only company: life as a civil war hero: life as a native medicine man watching the “white devils” destroy his world; lives full of challengers far more difficult than our won.
Together we learned that when life is overwhelming, when you needed to see beyond your self or the moment, or when you had no answer for a moral dilemma… tell a story.
The lessons learned down by the river have been with me my entire life, from fishing to learning to deal with troubles with a story, are lessons far more valuable than anything learned in a classroom. So today I write stories, while my brother laughingly says to all troubles in life, “you just need to go fishing more.”
my brother grown up