To the Desert

I have fallen into my old habit of buying too many books to read. For some reason when I open my mailbox here comes another one that I ordered and forgot about. I hope I have time, but I suspect I will not, to sit quietly with them this winter and listen to what the authors have to say to me. Maybe there are just too many voices in this world. Try as I might to be selective in what I listen to in my mind, I always want to fill myself with more.

I woke to the sound of rain. I’m so glad to see the forest taking a bath, as it looked so dirty, and October days of warm baking sun had caused it to sweat, I think, and maybe even stink. But now after just a quick shower or two over the last few days it looks fresh, it smells fresh, and we can be good neighbors once again. I am going to the desert, however, to babysit my dogs; well, my friend’s dogs. The dogs and their owners have moved away from the ocean and sold their lovely home that overlooks the bay. I spent so many years there watching their dogs for them when they were traveling. So it will be good to go see the dogs in their new home.

We had planned to drive through Yosemite and over Tioga Pass. On a weekday when summer is gone the thrill of Yosemite comes back to me because of the emptiness of the valley, where I can watch the Merced River come pounding off the top of the mountains, and swirl through the forest. I think that Tioga Pass needs snow more than it needs my wandering and curious eyes, as the mountains have gone through a very dry year, and I am happy to hear of the season’s first snowfall. We must take a different route to the desert, one with more traffic and less scenery, but the driving time will be quicker.

I wish I could spend just a few more days here in the forest watching how the rain changes the flavor and the feel of my surroundings. It’s the times of transition that are the most interesting of all, because, still fresh in my mind is the way the world looked only a few days ago, while I see the new beginning to take shape. The desert seems to be holding that promise of extended summer. I think Palm Springs was about 90 degree yesterday. By sometime late tomorrow I will be in that climate. Playing with dogs, babysitting a house, reading these extra books that stack up around me, the change will probably do me good.

I continue to work on this novel that I started at the beginning of this month. Each morning it grows a little more. It walks around inside of me all day long, the characters discussing me, it seems, rather than me trying to develop them. They have almost taken on their own life, and I am allowed to listen in while they move about freely. At first, their life was flat and dead. Now it seems that their life is flourishing and my life is now, well, not exactly flat and dead, but is consumed with theirs. I don’t know that I could ever be a full-time novelist. I am pretty sure I would not have a life of my own. My own mind would become a desert.

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