Some time around October of last year I began planning for the book I am writing in earnest. Since that time I have realized just how massive an undertaking this process is. It has given me a new appreciation for how much effort an author has to exert in order to bring a story to life.
It takes between three to ten hours for me to research, write, edit and produce a blog post. After researching and writing (and often re-writing after Birdy offers her critique), there is the task of adding artwork, links, SEO tags and publishing. Once published, it has to be distributed throughout the social media platform landscape. All of this for a piece that contains between five-hundred and one thousand words. To give some context, a book is typically seventy-five-thousand words long.
Lately, I have dedicated two to four hours daily to writing chapters for the book. This leaves very little time to write in the blog. I have, however, found time to keep a daily journal. Birdy gave me a set of three pocket notebooks for Xmas into which I have been making entries when I have sudden flashes of inspiration while I am out and about during my day. She suggested that I share some of these entries as a peace offering to all of you faithful subscribers to the blog before you give up on me.
Be warned that these are something of a departure from the writing I normally do in the blog. They are mostly random thoughts that occur to me while I am driving. Many of these were hurriedly scratched into a notebook as I sat in my truck parked on the shoulder of a backwoods highway. You can never tell when inspiration will strike. It’s like the memory of dreams after being roused from a deep sleep; If you don’t write them down immediately, they will be lost forever. I hope you like them.
March 13, 2017 – Granite Falls, WA – Morning
The forecast is rain- All day, every day for the next ten days. An encore performance to the wettest, coldest, darkest winter on record. The sun has shone on Seattle only three days since the start of the year.
The relentless rain oversaturates the ground. Mighty Evergreens lose their footing and teeter perilously on the verge of collapse. When one finally succumbs to gravity’s persistent pull, it tears a hole in the landscape, crushing everything in its path, bringing down with it other trees and limbs along its way down. Yesterday it was a house on a hill, today it was the two-lane highway that bore the brunt of its destructive power.
A tour of this timberland reveals a history of these fallen behemoths spanning the millennia. The rotting corpses of a thousand million trees litter the forest floor fertilizing each successive generation of giants. The ferns and foliage that once stood in the shadows of a fallen tree crane and bend to feel the unabated euphoria that is the life giving light of the sun.
Reach down and dig your bare hands deep into the soft earth, the hearty soil made from the bodies of the fallen pillars that once held up this lofty canopy. The smell is dank and musty like the scent of our own bodies before we bath it away in soap and perfume. I breathe in this rich aroma and feel connected to the land.
March 9, 2017 – Fall City, WA – Late Morning
The scene outside my windshield arrests me in my tracks; The trees paint a jagged black line along the edge of the horizon, cutting like a sawblade against the sky. Fog accumulates for a moment like celestial sawdust and then its blown away, the mountain making ready for another cut.
March 10, 2017 – Snoqualmie, WA – Early Morning
A saw tooth mountain juts out into the sky from a lake of fog in the valley. The snow paints a patchwork of white swaths where loggers have scraped the land bare. These are the scars of our pillage.
As I sit in my over-sized truck atop this lofty mountain perch and survey what has been done to this once glorious landscape, I lament the part I play in its destruction. I chose a profession whose inevitable conclusion is to tame and denature this land I hold so dear.
February 10, 2017 – Snoqualmie, WA – Afternoon
The true cost of your oversized house perched on this hill is the obliteration of the natural beauty that drew you here to begin with. I wonder how much time we have left before these trees are but a memory buried unceremoniously under these soulless boxes. We came here to live amongst them and destroyed them in our haste to get closer.
February 9, 2017 – Duvall, WA – Early Morning
Escaping the construction traffic of the two-lane highway, I dip down along the back roads that connect the backwater towns that are growing too big for their britches. I meander by the winding ways that run between the old farms that dot the valley.
Two low hills frame a perfectly flat floor carpeted green. Long white fences extending the full length of this valley corral the horses sprinkled across the fields.
The fog ascends revealing a vivid pallet of colors; Kelly-green grass gives contrast to the navy-blue wooded hillsides. The water runs like a river of ash, the silt stirred by weeks of heavy rains melting a thick snowpack.
Old barns litter the landscape, most of them clung together with their last rusty nails. Bright red paint has faded and chipped away, the siding underneath much worse for the ware. Corrugated metal roofs striped white and red lend contrast to the earth tones of the scenery.
The creep of urban sprawl threatens the tranquility of this valley; The steady advance of development marches along, paving over the grass and trees 100 acres at a time.
I scribble these words frantically in order to capture the last impressions of this place before it is nothing more than another maze of cul-de-sac neighborhoods. I want to remember the ponds that were refuge to the herons, the hills that were home to deer, the forests that were sanctuary to myriad fauna.
I cannot slow down the advance of the mechanized menace but I can slow down and admire the majesty of this place before it is gone. When my words are all that remains of the beauty of this land, and you can no longer see it for yourself, rest assured that it was awe-inspiring.