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Monday, February 22, 2016

Braving it

When I woke up last Sunday, our thermometer read ten degrees below zero.  Anyone who reads Middle Passages knows that for day-to-day living, I strongly prefer hot weather.  But there’s one reason I’ll cope with negative numbers, and that's the sea smoke that forms when very cold air hovers above warmer water. It’s kind of like steam over a hot bath or a hot drink, and I’d never heard of it before living by the ocean.  Some people call it frost smoke, or steam fog, and I suppose those names are apt when it occurs over the pond down the street on the first real cold day of Fall.  But last week, it was all about the sea.

Knowing the weather prediction, I actually gave thought to getting up at sunrise on Sunday to take pictures by the water, but when dawn arrived, I thought, who am I kidding?  I well remember my frozen fingers when I did that one January morning last year, and that day (you can read about here), it was eight degrees above zero.  Still, later in the morning, when my husband headed out to do errands, I hemmed and hawed about going with him, thinking we’d take a trip by the beach.  Even then I talked myself out of it. “The sun’s high. It’s too late.  Any sea smoke will be gone.”  Lucky for me, he took a swing by the water, and called me.  “You need to get down here.”

Pulling on long-johns and jeans and zipping into my down jacket, I headed out.  I wish I could explain the mystique of sea smoke as it wafts over the ocean.  What are the right words?  Ghostly? Ethereal?  Haunting?  On days like this I long for one of those foot-long camera lenses and the education and skill to take professional photos.  But I am who I am and I get what I get.  At least I have an eye.  And this time, chattering teeth that were well worth the experience.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Six a.m. on February Twelfth

The day you rise to light, 
shadow-trees mark the brightening.
Beyond the window of a sleeping room,
a demarcation,
snow to rock, brush to sky,
back lit to the west,
clouds feather pink, 
then grey.
In the kitchen
incandescent bulbs
flame the action of morning.
Replicated in glass,
they color the outside black.
You know though, to look behind,
past the darkened living room,
through a picture window,
where ashen light grows warmer,
the street, the stonewalls visible.
An onlooker to pastel morning,
you rejoice in the verdict,
a grateful witness
to nature's rhythm, 
the relief of lengthening days.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Blizzard Warning

By the time you see this Monday morning, we'll be in the thick of a storm.  I'm going to channel my inner peace by thinking of this guy, who I caught overlooking the pond on Saturday.  Wishing you all a good week, and for those of you in storm range, light shovels.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pastry Primer - IWSG February

It's IWSG time again.  The first Wednesday of the month, when writers help other writers.  This is a blog hop so if you want to  read other posts, click here.  Today's post represents a blogoversary, too. Seven years ago this week, with absolutely zero forethought, I started Middle Passages.  Imagine that spontaneous decision lasting this long.  Happy writing to all!

One day this fall, I stopped into a French Bakery in my town.  I have quite a fondness for the place, not only because they bake croissants so flaky that when I finish one, the golden fragments remaining on my plate beg for a moistened finger.  No, food aside, seven years ago, while newly unemployed and trying to find my way, I spent Thursday mornings writing there while I waited for the library to open. Sitting at a colorful bistro table, sometimes I free-wrote.  Sometimes I took direction from one of my new writing books  (Natalie Goldberg’s, Writing Down the Bones comes to mind), but regardless of the topic, the work I did there lubed up my brain for some real writing once I claimed a spot at the library.

My recent visit to the bakery reminded me of those days, and before Christmas, I decided to step back into the habit.  I get out of work early on Fridays, so lately, rather than allowing myself to go home to get caught up in who knows what, I’ve been heading to the bakery for a little lunch. Then I go to the library. With a full belly, it’s easy to immerse myself in the quiet and serenity of the place and get a chunk of work done.  Between these now-sacred afternoons, and my routine of writing first thing each morning, I can happily say I’m approaching the end of my first-draft. 

My IWSG tip this month?  Get yourself something yummy to eat.  Then go somewhere you can’t be distracted and write.  Just say'n.  There's nothing like a cup of French Roast and a chocolate croissant for triggering an inspirational jump-start.