A rare evening, when we could actually watch the sun setting across our Hill Country landscape. February was a succession of gray days and a seesaw of warm and chilly temperatures. But while we had daylong mists and drizzle, there was barely enough rain to measure all month and the creek is going dry.
Still, spring urgently beckons. We saw our first bluebird yesterday, a wren is setting up housekeeping on the front porch, the daffodils are lovely along the edge of the woods, and the white iris--always the earliest--is blooming.
Our white iris has a long and rich backstory. When Bill was in college, he lived at the Campus Guild, a men's coop residence at the University of Texas. The white iris lived in a window box there until the Guild burned in 1973. But several plants followed Bill through a succession of houses and yards until they settled with us at Meadow Knoll in 1987, thirty-one years ago. They're crowded now and don't bloom as well as they once did. Next fall, I need to dig the tubers and renew their beds and give them a new lease on life--their place in the family of things and creatures here in the Hill Country.
But their blooms always remind me of the persistence and resilience of nature--within limits. I read the reports of the Arctic's "freakishly warm" temperatures and worry that we humans are pushing our planet beyond those limits and past the tipping point. Difficult times, compounded by the idiocy in Washington, which unfortunately seems to have no limits.
Book report. A big week coming up. The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover launches under my imprint, Persevero Press--on the same day that Berkley publishes the paperback edition of The Last Chance Olive Ranch, China Bayles' 25th adventure. (#26, Queen Anne's Lace, comes out next month.) Meanwhile, I'm continuing to work on that trilogy of novellas that I began back in November--I'm halfway through the third. And I'm already beginning to think about the next project, which will be a China Bayles mystery.
If you think the writing life is a glamorous one, think again. It means showing up here at the computer on a regular schedule: for me, when I'm working on a project, that's six days a week. If I miss a day or two, I lose track of the story, and have to backtrack. Mysteries depend heavily on plot, and missing a few days can mean forgotten bits, dropped threads, and loose ends.
Other writers may be able to come and go at their writing desks, but a day-in-day-out schedule works best for me. Tushie to cushie, as one of my meditation teachers said. No glamour there, and many would find it lonely to work alone. There's not even much to blog about in such a life, I'm afraid. But it's deeply satisfying to me, especially because writing has allowed me to work where I live and to live in a place that so richly feeds my spirit. You readers have made that possible, and I thank each one of you.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.