Bill and the dogs, Toro and Molly, heading out for a morning walk in the snow. We're looking northwest, over the valley to the eastern slopes of the Sangres and the Pecos Wilderness. The clouds and the mountains are often tinged with pink and red in the morning, as the sun comes up over the ridge behind our house. These days (after a long history of sheep-raising here), the old Pendaries ranch in the valley is home to a herd of Black Angus cattle. The road to the main two-lane crosses the ranch, and we often drive through the herd. Carefully, since the cows are up close and personal.
Bill drove back to Texas earlier this week, with Toro. He reports unseasonably warm temps there (80 yesterday) and no rain for six weeks. Here, Molly and I are enjoying the cold weather and hoping for more snow. We take long walks along our mountain-side road, cook what we like, and work. Well, I work while Molly naps, which is her work. I'm writing all day (14,000 words into Cat's Claw), and reading, knitting, spindling, and watching DVDs in the evening--sheer bliss, such peace and quiet.
Reading for the book I'm working on, several police procedurals: Michael Connelly's Black Echo and City of Bones and two by T. Jefferson Parker: Cold Pursuit and Storm Runners. The book (which features Pecan Springs' police chief, Sheila Dawson) has more crime scene work in it than the cozier China Bayles' books, so I'm also reading Connie Fletcher's Crime Scene: Inside the World of the Real CSIs. And for background on the challenges of women in law enforcement administration: Breaking the Brass Ceiling: Women Police Chiefs and Their Paths to the Top, by Dorothy Moses Schulz. I thought it was hard to move into administration in the academic world, when I still worked there--but it's a lot more diffult, still, for women police. Hope I can capture some of those political issues in Sheila's story. So many of the novels I've read featuring women in law enforcement portray women cops as if they are just like male cops. Not so.
Just finished (last week): Limits to Growth (Meadows, Rander, and Meadows, the 2004 edition), a difficult book to read because it draws a stark but realistic picture of current and future resource challenges. (And we do need realism these days!) Also, Living Within Limits, by Garrett Hardin--written in the late 80s and a little dated, but helpful because it shows what ecologists were thinking in the decades before climate change, habitat change, and species extinctions became household words. Well, sort of, anyway.
I've finished the holiday knitting, more or less (scarves, mittens, hats) and am spinning some merino I dyed last summer. No idea what this will turn into, but I love to spin--actually enjoy the spindle more than the little Babe wheel I have at home. Picture me with a sizeable stash of hand-spun and no clear idea of what to do with it. More scarves and hats, probably. For next Christmas.
Christmas for me will be quiet, a dinner with friends, carols on the radio (no TV here), and perhaps even snow. For you and all of us, it's my hope that wherever we are this holiday season, we will find peace, contentment, and beauty.
Reading note. Finding beauty in a broken world is creating beauty in the world we find.--Terry Tempest Williams