Saturday, May 29, 2010

Out of the crumbles, new growth

                


Twenty-five years ago this weekend, Memorial Day, we moved into our homestead.  It still seems like we're skimming the surface of being here until I look deep into the pool of experience and realize how deep it goes, well, twenty-five years have seen a lot of changes.  But out of the old grows new.  This photograph was taken at Aurora, the little town south of Portland, OR where much of the Change and Cherish Series is set.  While taking the dog for a walk, I came across this wonderful step with columbine growing right out of the crumbling rock!  The next day Jerry and I came back and I knocked on the door asking if we could take picture of their steps.  The man was gracious yet apologetic.  He said he'd had much to do in restoring the old house built in the 1800s likely by a colonist of the Aurora colony and just hadn't repaired the steps or walkway.  I hope he doesn't. Those steps speak the perfect truth of change.
                There are always new milestones to mark. In June, Jerry will turn 80.  We'll be at a family reunion that weekend in Wisconsin so he'll have a cake at least!  But we're waiting to celebrate in a bigger fashion with a trip to Greece in late September.  If Greece is still Greece, that is.  But there are many, many ruins there indicating people survived many hardships through the ages and new civilizations have appeared, like columbines in rock, so we're hopeful.  Of course, the Iceland volcano may create changes to a planned trip as well.  But there's a Proverb about humans making plans while God is directs the real way, isn't there?  And as Winston Churchill once opined:  "Planning is essential; but plans are useless."
                This month we'll also be at the Winona Historical Society and in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area celebrating the final book in the Portraits of the Heart series, An Absence so Great. These books about my grandmother have garnered some of the most poignant comments by readers, people saying they've had an absence in their life for many years and how the stories are helping them fill that absence in the present time.
          The Historical society book group read both books and I was able to visit them by speaker phone for A Flickering Light but we'll be flying on the day they meet to discuss An Absence so Great.  It's always such a pleasure to hear people's questions and comments about how they feel about the story.  
           On the 26th of June, we'll learn the winner of the Christy Award.  As I've said before, having Flickering be a nominee is award enough for me!  I just hope my computer works for the PowerPoint presentation I'll be making at Barnes and Noble in the St. Paul area at the same time as the award event.
                My publishers announced yet another change:  they've chosen titles for their first ebook promotion and A clearing in the Wild is one for June.  The cost of the book will be only $1.99 so time to tell your friends with Sony Readers, Ipod, Ipads and Kindles to look for it.  I confess, that price looks awfully low for any book but from their research they're learning that even free ebooks bring new people to the author's works and other sales pick up.  Everyone is trying something new it seems.  Twenty-five years ago I typed my work on the  computer, printed it out (inside our little trailer, pushing the dogs off the couch so I could spread out my papers) then bundled it up and drove 25 miles to town to mail it hoping it would meet the criteria of the magazine and later book publisher.  Now, I can attach an entire book as a file to an email.  Gone in an instant.
                But amazingly, while technology has saved me time, I find I still don't use the time to just sit on the deck and watch the river go by.  Or throw the dog's toys in the yard just to watch them run  making me run too, to get it back.  I walk on my treadmill, but haven't been by the river for a few weeks now.  Yes, travel keeps us on the road and not here as much as we'd like and uneven ground does hurt my airplane- crushed foot more than walking on pavement or a treadmill.  But still, I've missed the little details the river gives up by not being out there more.  Just see how walking the dog in Aurora gave me the picture of new coming from crumbing old.  
                 Later today though, we're leaving for a week at the Oregon Coast so no, I can't walk the river walk, but I can walk the ocean walk and will.  I will take my computer with me, it's true.  And when I wake at 4:30 or 5:00 AM I'll get up as I do at home and work a while on revisions.  But by the time Jerry gets around, I can put it aside and we can have breakfast, walk on the beach, read other people's books, and watch the ocean waves come in.  I'll try not to think about the disaster in the gulf except to send arrow prayers to all who are working there to find a solution and to have the stamina it will take to try to restore the wetlands, ocean floor and creatures of creation and pray for forgiveness for what we do to the landscape we call earth.  We may not even turn on the news. 
        Instead, we'll be remembering and looking ahead.  But most of all, I'll be doing my best to just be where I am for the moment, appreciating the gift of life, the abundance of landscape, the comfort of family and friends and the joy of love still blooming in the hearts of Jerry and me, continuing to grow out of bones that are aging.  I hope you'll look for those moments in your life as well this month.  
     Many blessings on your summer days of June.  Warmly, Jane

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