Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bun-Bun Under the Pines

The townhouse community where I live has a good crop of wild rabbits. Every spring they dot the landscape, especially at dawn. Dogs are not allowed to roam unleashed and I only rarely see an outdoor cat, so the rabbits not only flourish but pull cute-pet-on-the-lawn duty. They aren't pets, of course, but they are much more desirable to have around than, say, rattlesnakes curled up in sweet bundles. My vote goes to Bun-Bun every time.

The babies, of course, are adorable, but the big ones (let's call them "mature") are dramatically beautiful, too. Different shades of brown ranging from light tan to a dark richness perfectly arranged in symetrical patterns--all on the same rabbit!

I suppose many people think them a nuisance, ruining potted flowers and prized swathes of grass, but I don't.

I hear again and again that too many ya books have been and are being published, and that a mighty collapse is coming. Could be true. But getting a book published is like having a wild rabbit sitting outside your window under the pine trees, munching breakfast, nose twitching. In other words, it's a delight.

So if the Big Ax of Publishing comes down hard, it will cause enormous sadness for many people, including myself. While I wait, I think I will concentrate on rabbits.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Plop Plop

I saw two turtles sitting on a log poking out of the shallows of Ragtag Lake, sunbathing. "Don't get too close," I admonished myself. Water turtles (snappers, I presume) are wily and dive in as soon as they see you or sense movement, or, for all I know, smell you. "I am not too close," I asserted, to myself. "I am a good fifty feet away." Maybe forty. Or thirty. I am not good at judging distances. "Okay, but be careful," I cautioned back, moving just a tiny bit closer. Sure enough, eagle-eyed little beasts that they are, they both immediately took a dive--plop, plop--and disappeared.

Loneliness settled over my shoulders like a curse. Fortunately, though, I then saw, further out, two more turtles parked on a thick branch sticking up out of the water. No way to creep close. No dives. Communion restored.

Today, feeling some haircut regret after a visit to the local budget hair salon, I thought that one of the great things about being a turtle is never having to worry about your hair. Even my cat, eighteen and a half years old and shedding heavily as spring advances, has bits and bunches of hair that stick out at odd angles in her ruff. Just a couple of small chunks that will eventually fall out, like last year. I believe this is a consequence of old age, for it never happened when she was younger. Frankly, it makes her look quite silly. Today, back from the salon, I felt much the same, though at this point I am somewhat reconciled.

I realize, that like the turtle without hair, I am a writer without buzz or vibe or coolness of any kind, with a very small audience. I am invisible, really, but feeling more comfortable with it than I used to. If you have no hair, you have no hair, so why worry? I envy those with a head full, it is true--especially if it's smartly styled (and it always is.) But a turtle climbing onto a log with a head of wet hair would look woefully ridiculous once it had dried, with weird little whirls and dips and sticky-out parts all over the place. So, you see, there are blessings to be had everywhere.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Blue Lagoon

I have twice seen a blue heron in Ragtag Lake--the bit of wildness I visit on my lunchtime walks. Parts of the lake at that end are very shallow, allowing Mr. Heron to walk about in the water looking for lunch. I feel rather sorry for him, thinking he should be in a more lush environment, like the Eastern Shore of Maryland or Virginia, areas which have lots of tourists but also enormous beauty. I do not know, though, if he is as concerned with the gorgeousness of his setting as is the human who watches him.

I think a fear for any writer is the loss of lushness--that spring and muscle and beauty of language that comes when one is writing at full power and strength. Energy, after all, ebbs and flows. Life-events happen, as does aging, which is ongoing even when you are young. So when the right words are right there, leaping onto the page or screen, the thrill has no comparison. But when the words are nothing but dry sticks you can't even rub together--that is excruciatingly painful.

Maybe the thing is to always be, like Mr. Heron, on the lookout for for a fresh pond or lake or river or ocean or bay or creek in which to stick your feet. A dip in the water--daring to dip--is exciting and dangerous. Afterall, who knows what you will step on? But it is so very necessary for survival.