This is monarch migration time here at Meadow Knoll. We don’t see as many as we did when we first settled here in 1986. When we do see them, we treasure the sight, like these, taking a break from their journey in our woods. Also with us this time of year: queens, fritillaries, giant swallowtails. The queens adore the blue mist flower and flutter up in a cloud when I walk past. And overhead, a flock of magnificent sandhills flying south, crying that wild, clear call that makes my heart race.
Also passing through, most mornings: a little coterie of four or five wild turkey toms, which appear to be roosting in the woods. The hens are still flocking with this year’s poults, now nearly as big as their moms. The two flocks will get together in the spring for . . . well, you know.
In the evenings, the deer–six or seven in our little herd–come down to the creek. It’s hunting season, but most of the ranchland in our area is posted, so we’re hoping that these lovely animals will make it through the next two months.
And one other interesting creature, a fugitive donkey, out and about in the dark. Her photo began appearing on Bill’s critter cam a week or so ago. He phoned the sheriff to report a lost animal, and the owner gave us a call. The donkey, a rescue animal, has apparently been raised on the range and objects to being penned in. She challenged a gate, skipped out, and has been on the lam ever since. It’s not likely that she can be caught–she’s now free to live her Best Life, with plenty of graze and water. Maybe you remember this 1930s Cole Porter song? “I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences/Don’t fence me in.”
On the desk this month: research and writing on the Georgia O’Keeffe/Maria Chabot project, which continues to yield interesting little surprises, not just about the unlikely, up-and-down friendship of these two women but about the house Maria built for Georgia. This is one of those idiosyncratic projects that may be of interest just to the writer. I’m glad to be at a place in my writing life when I can indulge myself in a project simply because I love it.
Also on the desk: the publishing tasks associated with The Darling Dahlias and the Red Hot Poker. The files for the print interior, ebook, audio, and cover went off last week. Looks like the book will have an April publication date.
A few weeks ago I did a podcast for Greenleaf Book Group. Most of the questions had to do with writing series fiction, but I also spoke about the writing process. If you’re interested, you can find it on YouTube and on Apple Podcasts.
Whatever is passing through your life right now, I hope it is a pleasant experience–and that you’re looking forward to the holidays, always a magical time of year.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.