This day began with bright sun. Within minutes that changed. A thin band of fog moved in over the treetops in the forest. I can tell the fog will not last because it does not have the depth required to hide the sun all day long. Within an hour blue will return, I’m sure. I sat out by my campfire last night and listened for animal sounds. I did not hear any. For the past two nights, I have heard deer making their mating call, which is a very odd sound that we very seldom hear around here. The sound doesn’t even sound natural. It sounds more like some kind of a squeeze toy or a blow toy that a kid might get at a birthday party. It sounds as though it comes somewhere between the throat and the nose of the deer, and I think that if I was a deer looking for a lover it certainly would not be very attractive to me. The sound seems as if the animal is in great distress, as if the deer is looking for sympathy, rather than for attention or love.

No, the forest was very quiet last night as I sat by the fire. Just me, lost in thoughts. It was a restful way of being lost. I have been training my mind to race with ideas for the last few days. Learning how to use this new dictation software is also causing me to learn how to speed up my thinking when I am writing. I have been so clumsy with the keyboard for so many years that I had to learn how to slow down my thinking to about 20 words per minute. Now it seems that I am able to think at about 100 words per minute and get those words typed for me with this new software. So my brain needs to go through some training on how to do this! Now I need to learn how to slow down my thinking when I’m not writing this new novel. Sitting out in the night staring at the fire seems to be a pretty good way to quiet myself down inside. I can watch the tongues of the fire speak their own language in the night sky while I sit quietly and watch the motion, the waving flames, and trust that the tongues do not have anything important to say to me, but are there only for my warmth and amusement.

Yesterday, the day when America celebrates the man who discovered it, even though it had already been discovered by about 10 million people, I was able to drive around town fairly easily and discover places that the tourists have occupied all summer. I don’t know why they weren’t in town over this three-day weekend, but I suspect it might have something to do with the high price of gasoline. Most of the gas stations in town were selling gas at about $4.69 per gallon for 87 unleaded. It looks like the gas stations must be hitting the threshold for a lot of people who cannot afford to pay much more than that, and must stay home instead and enjoy their big flat screen televisions.

I don’t hear much about Columbus any more. His name has been bandied around and associated with so much negativity that I think people are gradually forgetting about him. His mission and purpose does not seem relevant to modern American life. His name seems to have become some kind of a kling-on to our culture. Yesterday I checked my mailbox two or three times to see if any mail had arrived. I wasn’t expecting any mail, but I just wanted to make sure that no important letters would lay out all night long in that little metal box down by the road. We have had a history of people going through our mailbox after dark, so always faithfully pick it up. There was no mail yesterday. I knew Columbus somehow was stopping my mail delivery, a national holiday celebrating his discovery, which blocked any discoveries in my mailbox. Three times I went to the mailbox, remembering the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria all hauling discoverers to our Eastern shore. On each voyage I thought of Columbus and his ships. I also thought that maybe this day should be used to celebrate something else. Maybe we could just celebrate the beauty of an October day and remember the times when our own voyaging was fueled by cheaper gasoline.

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