October Endings and Beginnings

Spring is my favorite month, and many days these past few weeks have felt like March. There are new shoots of perennials poking their heads through the old growth, as I take down the garden and plant bulbs. I haven’t spent much time on the mountain, but yesterday was too beautiful a day to miss––bright, crisp, cool.

As with writing goals, sometimes the path is difficult to see.

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I didn’t go looking for them, but there was a crazy abundance of mushrooms everywhere. I used to pick and eat wild mushrooms as a kid, but none of the ones I saw resemble those. I suppose one day I should make a point of consulting an expert on whether or not any of those in Mt. Doug are edible and also why they grow where they do.

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These posts try to connect my writing life to the woods where I hike. Some observations may be products of my own imaginings, but in my wanderings and encounters with this mountain, I sometimes have insights that I can apply to my writing life.

I’ve started to shop my novel around to agents and publishers. I even received my first rejection. What next? Can I figure out where the path is leading despite the heavy leaves? Is that one lone mushroom in the woods like my own work waiting to be discovered?

Lone mushroom

 

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Mt. Doug hiking and thesis writing


We are half way through the second year of this MA course and I am nowhere near where I want to be with the completion of the thesis, but two friends wanted to be introduced to Mt. Doug’s trails, and I could not refuse.
Oh look, some new boardwalk and tarmac-like material to ride over the once muddy paths. What do I think? I like some of the boardwalk, and it does the job of making the trail more accessible in winter, but the tarmac-like spongy, cementy stuff they have paved into the forest is intrusive and, honestly, quite ugly.


Can I live with it? Let me compare it to the thesis.

Two years should be enough to complete a long narrative, but I wish I had more time. The more you learn, the better, hopefully, the work gets. I could always use more time for research, refining, and a deeper exploration of the topic, but there is a deadline and I have to complete the project.

For most of us who hike Mt. Doug for the natural beauty, some of the new trail covers are less than an organic addition. It makes me wonder how much time and effort was taken to research, explore and refine the best material–and if the Friends of Mt. Doug were consulted. Perhaps there was a rush to a deadline.

Tree-hugger friends breathed in the forest air and were surprised at how deep into a forest you can go while still being 10 minutes from downtown. They joyfully took in the Douglas fir and spruce and green buds, despite the renovations, and now I am back to the solitary work of the long narrative. Trying to do the best work possible, without feeling rushed.

Robins Return,Thanksgiving 2011


The return of the robins to my backyard rowan (ash) tree is always a mystery to me. Their October songs stir memories of springs belonging to decades past, and for a moment I forget that winter is the season we are anticipating.

Lots of bird activity here this weekend. I caught a small piliated woodpecker pecking at the birch and the resident hummingbird rested on the rowan.

The robins feed on the berries and then are gone–perhaps on their way south, or to better feeding areas, and here to spend the winter. I counted about ten this year, but I am not a birder and it is difficult to distinguish them. According to last October’s post, there are fewer robins this year. We had tent caterpillars in the tree this year and there seem to be less berries. Could that be a factor?

A Thanksgiving treat–robins in October.