The writing is going through a spell of interruption from a Hawaiian visitor, and a string of balmy winter days that seem too good for me to be indoors. So I go sit on the beach with my ukulele and strum the few chords I have learned, trying to convince these fat fingers to go gently when pinching the strings. Yesterday, however, a group of four of us took a three hour hike into the deep redwood forest in the hills behind Aptos village. The woods are so thick here that the birds do not fly into them and the rain from more than a week ago still lies in puddles on the old dirt road, as the sun has not pierced through the canopy above. I haven’t walked this far, maybe six or seven miles, in quite some time. My usual jaunt is more like two miles, and that along the beach in sunshine. Walking in the forest where the air is cooler demanded more energy of me. The woods felt like an old friend that I have not visited for a long time, so I had much conversing to do with them.

The small cottage beside the house, where I park my writing computer, is about to get remodeled. A kitchen and fireplace added, a wall removed, new hardwood flooring; enough dust stirring that I need to evacuate. It appears that my Hawaiian visitor, my daughter, wishes to move into the cottage, and so we have elected to make it more self-contained and comfortable for living. Currently it serves as a junk storage space and weekend crash pad for out-of-town visitors. I imagine I will be doing more ukulele strumming on the beach than writing until this project is completed, which may go on for a couple of months. Ah well, maybe the transition away from my usual space will stir up some new and different thoughts.

And here it is February, when all my tax documents come in the mail and clutter my desk top with a spirit of anxiety. My neighbor across the road runs a tax preparation business on the other side of the mountain, so I see her getting up and off to work very early these days. How I have always resented having to prepare taxes; I just can hardly imagine having to mess around with those funny columns of numbers for other people.

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