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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.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snowlight Magic

It’s eleven thirty and I just came in from a walk in the snow light with Annie. I didn’t mean to take a walk. I spent much of the day shoveling my truck out, chaining up, shoveling paths so the sheep could get water and I could bring them food. Shoveling a path up my 83 year old neighbor, George's, steep drifted over driveway. Done with the snow!!! All done! Blasted stuff, I moved here so that I wouldn’t have to shovel….and so on.

And then I booted up, put on my parka, the old Alyeska one from Prudhoe Bay that my friend Page gave me, the one that always feels like a warm embrace, and took my wood carrier out for the nightly ritual of bringing in the morning’s load of wood for the stove.

Only the night was bright with reflected snow light, there was no wind, tomorrow...well pretty soon now, is Christmas Eve, and the cold felt crisp and clean. I dropped the wood bag and headed for the gate with Annie bounding gleefully ahead of me. My neighbor had chained up to take his wife shopping for Christmas dinner and the tracks gave us a path in the 14 inch deep snow. Instead of floundering we could stroll.

It was beautiful. Nobody has been out, no tracks, only a single set of tire tread in the whiteness. My neighbor’s icicle lights painted the swelling mounds of white with yellow light. As we left them behind and walked along the road toward Clatsop, the paved main road, the trees took my breath away. Rimed with ice, the heavy Douglas fir branches iced with white snow, backed by low, misty clouds, the scene was right off a Christmas card. Wow.

And then Annie alerted at one of the drives that leads to a few houses on the western slope above our street. A man shoveled snow. We said hello and I made a pleasantry about being out late in the snow. He wanted to get tout in the AM. And I walked up to Clatsop, promising him a road report when I got back. Packed snow on Clatsop, no sign of asphalt or other civilized accoutrements. It might have been a cart track though the Sweedish countryside. We talked a bit more…me about '79 and the week long power outage, he about '68 ‘when he was a kid’ andsix foot drifts blocked the county roads then Annie and I walked on and took Koelhers old driveway, watching for coyote spoor. Annie found plenty, I did not.

What a beautiful night!

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