Bill called me to the porch a few minutes ago to watch a flock of sandhills on their way to their winter home in the Rio Grande Valley. Sandhill Flyover Day is an important personal event for us every year, marking the turn of the season. Their wild, warbling call is always a reminder to me that the wilderness is all around us. But these days, their calls also ring with sadness, for the sandhills, like most life on this planet, will have to adapt to a new order of things, as human-caused climate change disrupts their environments. Sad, yes. But happy too, to see them once again. And to hear them–the loveliest sound you can imagine.
A busy few weeks this autumn. Son Michael was here (from Juneau) to spend a few days, bringing granddaughter Dorothy, great-grand Evie, and friend MJ. We got our COVID boosters and flu shots and voted–early, at our local library (no armed “monitors” in evidence). I volunteer to help with the Sarton literary competition that Story Circle sponsors every year, so that’s occupied several hours a day.
My brother and I have finished our family history and sent it off to the layout editor. We decided to make it a private printing (sorry, folks!), just for our kids and their families. I blogged earlier about our DNA adventure–quite a discovery for us, and one that wouldn’t have been possible without Ancestry.com. There are lots of complications in family searches like ours, and sometimes some difficult surprises. Our search was fun and we enjoyed it, all the way through. Plus, both of us are writers, and working together has been a delight.
I’ve been working on a couple of other projects. I have a Pecan Springs/China Bayles mystery underway (Forget Me Never) but have temporarily laid it aside to finish the work on Someone Always Nearby, about the friendship of Maria Chabot and Georgia O’Keeffe. The pub date for that is now November 2023. The manuscript goes to the copy editor and the cover artist next week. I’ve also been working on a fairly extensive Reader’s Companion. As a reader of biographical fiction, I always want to know how much the author made up and how much is “real.” Since O’Keeffe is such a famous artist and was so deliberate about creating the image of herself that she wanted us to have, I’ve felt compelled to show you how and where and why that created image doesn’t always fit the real person. The Companion, which will be published separately, is designed to make that very clear. You’ll probably think it reads too much like a dissertation and perhaps it does. But I know that some of you will appreciate a deeper look. When I have both the novel and the Companion wrapped up, I’ll go back to Forget. No pub date on that one yet–early 2024, I’m thinking.
More work in progress. Very much enjoying this Charles Wysocki cross stitch, which I started in July. After I finished a page at the upper left, I downloaded Pattern Keeper–and will never willingly go back to paper patterns. This software makes it so easy to keep track. Lots of wrinkles here and you can see the shadow of the small round hoop I’m using to do the far right edge of the work. (Also had to figure out why the flash on my camera wasn’t working. Why is it that to do one thing, you have to do a dozen other things first?)
Grateful today for the stability of our democracy and the efforts of all those who made this election cycle go forward without incident. You are very much appreciated!
Meanwhile, on Sandhill Flyover Day, a lovely poem by Mary Oliver:
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
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.