I wrote this ten years ago. It’s always weird to go back over something you haven’t looked at in ten years. I never did get this one published, probably because it is so vague. There’s no central point to it, except that it uses words to express that feeling I have when I go out onto the trail in the winter. I’m fond of this poem.
Fields and floods
Winter should be peaceful, filled as it is
with dry grass and wind, a few clouds pieced
together with snowflakes. The sky pleases itself,
opens each dawn like a window once the sun
has sipped his tea. The frozen meadow knows
how easily bared dirt sifts into the wind. And then
there are the voices that murmur in the cold, groaning
over hardened ground. In so many places we have remade
the earth into what we think we want, the weight of us
creaking along the surface near the fallen leaves,
our footprints inevitable. So many changes—
we have forgotten how quietly the last few ponds sleep
in ice-stretched fields. How the land cradles the sunset’s
reflection in her flooded, frozen hollows.
It’s been three weeks since we dropped my older son off at college. He’s doing okay. Texting is the world’s greatest invention. EVER.
I, on the other hand, have found this entire year very stressful (even before he left). When I get stressed out, I tend to lose my appetite. A long time ago, I found that a great way to handle stress is to do more physical things. Lately I’ve been hiking a lot and eating less.
I’ve lost ten pounds since my son went off to college.
I can’t honestly say I’m unhappy, because the moments of sheer joy when I reach the top of a mountain (hiking, not rock climbing, I assure you) are sublime. The rattlesnake we saw yesterday on the way back down Mt. Tammany was NOT sublime. It was cool. Interesting. A little freaky, but not sublime.
Finding out that my son’s roommate bought a jar of peanut butter and cracked it open in their room to eat it, was also NOT FUN. I have a feeling I’ll be going hiking again in a day or so.
The moment I managed to climb up the Skyline Trail onto the North Lookout at Hawk Mountain was surprising (because, yeah, that actually was rock climbing). I didn’t know I could do that. I doubt I’ll do it again.
We go to visit my son in a week for the day. I’m looking forward to it.
My first young adult novel has been out for a few weeks and I’ve received some really nice reviews. I just wanted to say Thanks! to all those who have read it and posted their comments on various places (Amazon and Goodreads).
As a writer, I don’t think you can do this as a career unless you truly enjoy fooling around with words. Writing is filled with uncertainty, sporadic pay, and ego-crushing commentary from random people who don’t understand how much effort it takes to write a novel (or a book of poems). So, you really need to enjoy the act of writing in order to keep going. It’s like climbing a mountain, getting to the top, and then realizing you really only made it up the first little hill. The goal isn’t just reaching the top of the ridge so you can see the view. It’s hiking on the trail, too.
When you get a few reviews that specifically mention the characterization you worked so hard on and how the novel kept them turning the pages (or swiping the e-reader screen), it’s truly appreciated. Thanks everyone.