It's official. Spring is on the horizon--according to the daffodils, anyway.
In the first decade we lived here at MeadowKnoll, planting daffodils was always a major autumn project. I planted as many as we could afford, in as many different varieties as I could find. In our second decade, I bought a few but mostly divided the clumps of bulbs and replanted in the woods, along the garden fence, and in clusters under the trees. Now, in our third decade here, I'm simply enjoying them. I love to walk along the woods, appreciating their confident optimism among the dried leaves. They remind me that no matter how much chaos we humans create, daffodils just go about their modest lives, generous with their beauty--and beautifully reliable. Some of these daffs are more than thirty years old, and they're still as lovely as they were in their first year's bloom. The rest of us definitely can't say that.
Garden news. Only about a third of the early potatoes survived January's deep freeze, so we're replanting today: Yukon Gold and reds (Lakota reds, I think). Also in the garden: lovely green onions, from the perennial planting I did several years ago. Like the daffodils, they just keep coming back.
Book report. If you've been visiting this blog, you know that my current work-in-progress is a series of three linked novellas featuring Ruby Wilcox, China Bayles' friend and business partner. These novellas (half the length of the usual mysteries) take place over just four months. They focus on Ruby's developing psychic abilities--fun for me, focusing on that side of Ruby's life and seeing how far I can push it. It's also fun to create three linked stories, each building on the previous one. Each introduces and develops the main characters and extends their story arcs across the trilogy, at the same time that it stands on its own, with a resolved plot. Actually, all of my series books are linked, but because they're published at a slower rate (just one a year in each series), that's not a huge issue.
The challenge for these shorter projects: not all readers will come to the stories in the order in which they are written and published. For those readers, the second and/or the third stories may contain spoilers (information that spoils the surprises of the earlier stories), while readers who take them in order may find some repetition. I have that problem in mind especially now, as I work on the third book. When I have a strong first draft of #3, I'll go back to the first and work through all three in order, watching for 1) spoilers and 2) repetition. This may be primarily a short-run issue, however; in the long run, I'll do a boxed set of all three.
Life in general. It's been a long, long winter, colder than normal here and not enough rain. And there's the mess in Washington, which daily imposes itself on our awareness, and the mounting crises of gun violence, about which lawmakers do nothing because they owe their jobs to the NRA. I can't get out and protest, but I put my money into the causes that match my values. Bottom line, though, I prefer daffodils. I'll bet you do, too.
Reading note. In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.--Margaret Atwood