Armed star-gazer in Elkland

2014-10-12 07.54.36Last Friday was a big birthday so we took a couple of days off and visited Estes Park, Colorado…just up the hill from our town. When you make your home in a tourist destination state it’s easy to let everyday life distract you, so it was fun being part of a tourist weekend. People were everywhere, visiting Rocky Mountain National Park and watching the last of the aspen leaves swirl from the trees. From a polite distance, crowds observed the yearly mating dance of the elk who reclaim their grazing rights among the buildings, parks, and golf courses of Estes Park. It’s a wonderful live-and-let-love tradition in town. I’ve enclosed a few photos.  To the left is the royal male himself, munching on grass in the Safeway parking lot.

To the right the former King of Elkland reclines in the sun by the soccer nets.2014-10-11 15.51.53 The cows grazed around aimlessly but, occasionally, I swear I saw one of the gals wink enticingly at the young King.

In any case, we had a good time, ate too much and went  off the grid.

During the day we also scouted out places to star gaze  in RMNP.  I wanted to see the Milky Way in its glory, but even though the weather didn’t co-operate, my husband was ready. At the beginning of our trip, as I searched through the center console of his pickup  for my camera, the unmistakable glint of a twenty-two winked up at me.

He grinned and shrugged. “Can’t go up in the hills at night without protection. Just think of me as your armed star-gazer.”

I whipped out my spiral notebook. “Do you mind if  I use that for the title of my next novel?”

He just smiled.

Where do the titles of your stories, blogs, or novels come from?

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Wonderful World of Recovery

Greetings from the wonderful world of recovery.

I’ve reached a tough chapter, and so I’m taking a break for an update. I’m over halfway through Lessons 18 and 19.

For those of you who unfamiliar with HTRYN, this means query letters will be shooting out by email mid-February.

This is a big deal and I’m excited. At the same time, I’m tired of revision. Anyone who’s done it will tell you, while it has its enjoyable parts, it’s mostly hard work. So, to amuse myself, I’ve started thinking about possibilities for my next project.

The first idea is a murder mystery that takes place in the mountains of Colorado. The hero, a local sheriff, pursues the killer through the northern front range of our beautiful state and into the contemporary wilderness of Wyoming-and back again. The second idea on the cooker is science-fiction, using two of my current characters. These characters are both soldiers of different ages and backgrounds who, when they meet, teach each other a lot about survival, honor, and love. However, neither one of the characters is human. I’m not sure if this is a plus or a minus to readers who don’t know these folks like I do.

So, now it’s your turn. What new projects are lurking in your future?

New Year Milky Way

I was lucky. The Friday night before Christmas, I saw the Milky Way.

Photographer friends of mine would say I did not really SEE it because of light pollution However, from my son-in-law’s windswept driveway, I was able to see enough of our covering blanket of stars to know it is still twinkling above us.

Two thirds of the population of the western world have never seen the Milky Way. Light pollution is so rampant over the Earth, creeping into the night like a brilliant rash, covering the East and West Coast of America, Europe and parts of South America, that I feel privileged to catch a glimpse of our stars.

From Rick’s desolate yard in rural Colorado, I looked to the northwestern sky, let my eyes adjust (in the dark your pupils open like giant telescopes), and I watched as as a veil of stars rose overhead and twisted down to the southeast horizon. Layers of light pulsed toward me, from the palest  background of the farthest star fields to a lace net of sharp pinpoints of night shine. The beauty is so profound, so unchanging, standing under its arch is a connection with creation. Although the Milky Way’s light was generated billions of years ago and is just now reaching us, it looked the same to primitive man as it does to us now.

The stars steady me.  They appear in their season New Year after New Year. Long after I’m gone some yet-to-be-born woman will stand here, and she’ll be comforted by the stars. She’ll wonder how long the stars have been here and how long they will shine. And, if I could, I’d l tell her.

Forever.