Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter blessings

Today’s walk took me across the highway and along a rarely used and nearly obscured trail that winds behind the Mt. Baldy Zen Center, up to a flat area with few trees and much buckthorn. Without a tree canopy, it’s a great vantage point—on most days—to see down to the valley below (and on clear days, to see all of Catalina Island). Today, however, with the heavy marine layer, I could see only huge cloud chunks flying up San Antonio Canyon, heading straight toward me… which is why I chose this hike, as I love to watch the huge swaths of cloud billow up the slopes and through the trees.

I always take the iPod when I head up there, primarily because it’s a lonely hike; I’ve never seen anyone else on that trail. But also because I know that Leonard Cohen, at one time a resident of the Zen Center, occasionally returns for a visit, and I like to fantasize that one day I will arrive at the flat to find him standing quietly, looking down to the valley below, contemplative as always, perhaps composing some song lyrics in his head. I am determined not to intrude upon his reverie if this ever happens. However, should he deign to speak to me, I’ll have the iPod for a conversation starter. I imagine it will go something like this:

LC: What are you listening to on that damned thing?

Me: At the moment, Loreena McKennett… but to be honest, Mr. Cohen, I have far more of your stuff on here than hers. And I gotta tell ya, I think Rufus Wainwright did the best cover of “Hallelujah.” It’s brilliant.

OK, you’re right, sounds too much like starry-eyed chatter. If I ever see him, I shouldn’t even acknowledge that I recognize him, just nod, eat my snacks quietly, and head back down.

I practiced that today—eating my snacks quietly, I mean, while I scanned the upper slopes for deer. Well, except for a few brief moments while I sang along with Bob Dylan on “Love Minus Zero/No Limit.” Then I started back down, the clouds having nearly filled the canyon with fog. And there they were, two does leaping away, thirty feet below me. I watched their tails bob in retreat, and found myself softly singing “Hallelujah” as I walked back home through the misty forest.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Giddiness Prevails!

Bear with me for a moment while I take deep breaths…. I’ve spent the weekend celebrating my daughter’s acceptance into a Master of Fine Arts program… and also celebrating 70-degree temps for the first time since October… and bringing the bench swing back up to the porch from the garage…. Oh—and Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat’s Life released this week, with my story, “The Legacy of Boo Radley.” And my Author’s Page went up on Amazon (which is indescribably encouraging, because I can see that Tainted Legacy is still selling all around the country). What else? Oh! The Grandson is here for the weekend (which is how I got the swing back up the stairs to the porch—and several other chores accomplished).

I’m excited about the weather warming for many reasons. A few are:

I’m out of firewood. (Could buy another half cord for $150, but I’d rather spend that money on something that doesn’t go up in smoke.)

“Scruffy,” the cat abandoned in the forest by some idiots, has a better chance of survival. He/she is responding to food and affection, looking healthier every day.

The wildflowers are beginning to bloom. 

I can spend more hours working on the dog book. Some of you know that my cabin in winter gets so cold that I can’t stay at the keyboard for long before my fingers are so stiff from the cold I have to stop typing. As the weather has warmed (except for last Saturday, at 20 degrees), I’ve been able to work on that memoir. I want to be close to finishing by summer.

I’m grateful this week to several people who have been especially supportive of my work, particularly Laura Hoopes, who helped me get the Amazon Author’s Page going. Her memoir will release on May 2, and I’ll be talking about it here.

I’m also grateful for the readers who have checked out my blog from afar. This week, I had two pageviews from Germany, two from France, two from Russia, two from Slovenia and one from Iran. Who are you, my exotic readers? Thanks for stopping by!

One more note that I’ve been meaning to tell you about: Some weeks ago, Gary Sutton sent me a copy of his new novel, Oskaloosa Moon. Gary is a savvy businessman who usually writes about that field. However, to pay dubious respects to his roots, he wrote Moon. I have to admit, I was skeptical at first; can a businessman write an engrossing novel? But I have to tell you, I fell in love with this book from the preface. If you are a reader of novels, I promise you will love this book. I have provided a link to Amazon here—if you buy it and don’t love it, let me know; I’ll buy it back from you!  (Just click on the book.  I know; it's way too easy....)