Summer nights, and G.P. prowls far past dark unless we can get her in early. The slightest breeze moving the foliage of toyon and cream bush fascinates her, and she has to go out to investigate. Out ’til midnight one evening when no amount of coaxing could get her back, we feared she’d fallen prey to the foxes or big cats who move through, who we love to see or hear move through as the paralyzing heat dissipates and they take to their trails. Then the quiet of the late hours settles, and it doesn’t lift again until the power blowers, trimmers, and mowers start up in the morning. Such ambition. When they’re silent, I think I hear the Doug-firs growing with barely perceptible crackles. And G.P. turns up in the skylight, begging to come in through the screen.
G.P. Comes Back
After I finish a sentence I’ll figure out how to coax her to the door. First things first.
Wind farm, Highway 50, Nevada
Summer. Back from the desert and into the wine country. Hot days and the smell of sunbaked sunflower foliage in the garden. The foxes who use our land to beat it from the creek to the hills move only in late afternoon. Outside my office door, a slack hammock calls me to get horizontal and read. Read, write, sleep in these days too slow with heat to do much else. There is no higher calling.
What are you working on? If you are like me, you pause before answering this question, the answer to which usually breeds more questions. If you are not like me, keep that ability to generate quick thought, a confident reply, an unbreakable connection to your work.
A guitar teacher of mine (the same one who taught me to solo over “Summertime”) once advised me to stay in touch with my instrument at least enough to tune it every day. Better yet, play something–scales, a melody, that chord progression you can’t forget. As a writer I take this advice to mean I should at a minimum sharpen my pencil each morning or click open my pen. The rest comes; for me it comes from my obsessive nature once it’s awakened.
The hammock calls. A notebook and pen will work just fine out there, under the Doug-fir giving shade, in the aura of scent from the bay laurel. Better to sleep with pen in hand in the fresh air than to die this death at the desk, eyelids falling, mind stultified, supposedly working.
Power to your pen today.