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Writing Ruminations

Writing is such an internal process. Why not make those private ruminations public? This is how stories take shape and grow.

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Location: Happy Valley, Oregon, United States

I've been supporting myself as a writer for many years and am watching the changes in the publishing world with fascination. For me, sharing the craft, teaching, is as creatively satisfying as the writing process itself.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Sheep New Year

I know it's not New Year yet, but...it is. The solstice is behind us and already the sun is rising just a bit earlier every morning. I know that's pretty hard to notice when you get up in the dark to go to work and come home in the dark and live under electric lighting most of the day. But by my clock, the new year has begun. It's the sheep that tell me. Every morning I watch them slowly resolve from darkness as the sky lightens. First you can see the big white blob of my St. Croix ram, then the gray and black shapes of the ewes. They lie in a loose group in the pasture beside the barn if it's not raining and down under the big cedar tree if it is raining. (They only come into the barn if it's really pouring). The oldest ewe, Red Collar, decides when morning has arrived, always at the same moment of growing light. She gets up, stretches, and begins to amble down to the woods to either browse the blackberry leaves or head over to the big pasture behind the neighbor's house. The ram gets up next, and one by one the others all follow, in no big rush, taking perhaps ten or fifteen minutes to finally disappear through the gate into the woods.

It happens at the same moment every morning; that same moment of light and dark that signals 'day' to the sheep. And now...it's earlier. Not a lot earlier. But a bit earlier. So the new year has begun and I've got my seed catalogues stacked up beside the computer. I'll start my first seedlings under lights a couple of weeks after the official new year; broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and I'll plant the peas and fava beans out into the beds even before that. Another year starts. The sheep are getting up earlier.


Anonymous Jay Lake said...

Merry Ewemas.

10:38 AM  

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