WRITING ON

We go out for our morning walk well before dawn most days. We like to be the first on the sand—going out extra early we only meet other walkers on our way home. We inevitably find ourselves beach combing, even when we declare at the beginning that we will not walk so far. We will simply go out and home, and then we are trolling up and down that rocky shore. Everything has been stirred and shifted each morning. We found almost 200 pieces of seaglass in the last week or so. The flat-smooth pebbles and agates we’ve gathered had been taking over the house.

Above, Gary walking across the Asbury Creek on the board he placed so I could get over without going around or getting wet. Today the gap had narrowed and I could step across.

Left, the other “bridge” across Shark. Gary first dragged that board into place weeks ago. He’s replaced it three times and someone else replaced it once too.

The other day we walked all the way around Hug Point for the first time since last fall. (I wonder how many visitors fail to recognize that old road cut into the stone. It is entirely grown over with barnacles and mussels.) It’s about 5miles round trip as the crow flies. Further for the way we travel.

The stone I have collected on our walks are finding a new home in our front garden. We have both worked planting and pruning, and I am doing NaNo this month. I have stories that want revision—another sort of planting and pruning—and I have neglected writing fiction in the past year and more. I have folded a dozen into one document—old stories that are not quite working, mostly with a magical realist or fantastic edge. The science fiction novella too. This month I will focus on one story at a time, revising/rewriting each and then see where I am by the middle of the month. I have two stories that are just really bad, but might become something worthwhile if I can figure them out. Reading and reviewing on Goodreads has maybe taught me something about what I want to accomplish in fiction. I think I probably will need to spend the second half of the month writing something new. That new story will still need several rounds of revision, and I have no idea what it will be about but perhaps the story will come.

An article in The Washington Post reported strategies people used to get through the pandemic: Creative
coping: Pet chickens, pink hair, an old plane: Here’s what’s keeping readers going through the pandemic
.

A 74-year-old face-blind woman dyed her own hair pink so people would recognize her. A doctor said after dealing with illness and death all day, what saved her was coming home and holding her chickens. Another person is crossing the country on foot, virtually—tracking how far she goes and what she might see. I have thought about doing something like that. Like a lot of people, while the pandemic has been challenging, I am not eager to rush out and travel anywhere.

The nearest store is five miles north on the beach, so we do have to go out occasionally. This morning we had errands: shopping, mail, bank deposit. We saw cars from bordering states and from Montana, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Colorado—about one in three or four were out of state plates. Perhaps these 30-something vacationers have already been vaccinated, but I cannot help wishing these people would stay home for a few more weeks until most of us are.

Not everyone has experienced the pandemic as more than an inconvenience, of course. Some people still go on vacation, visit family, work remotely. But even among those last, working from home and never going anywhere because you want to keep your family safe is no fun. And that’s not even counting the people who fix our drains, fight fires, take care of the ill, or must wait on customers who are less concerned about infection than they are themselves.

My strategy for coping has mostly been a miniature diary I keep on my computer. At first this was to make sure I wasn’t drinking too much, and that I was remembering to take my vitamins and to eat my greens. But then I kept adding more information. I have been tracking my walks, what I eat, what I do — how many miles walked that day, pieces of sea glass found, and then inches woven on my loom, bread baked, FaceTime visits, Zoom readings, and on and on. I feel better and stronger and I have lost weight. I can reliably play five notes on my $10 recorder I ordered on Ebay. I am more aware of what I am accomplishing each day, and I do expect to accomplish things most every day. Every once in a while, though, I allow myself to be sad. These are hard times: I miss my family, people are struggling, and I feel for those who have died. We learned this morning that former neighbor has just passed on. I think it’s okay, probably even healthy to grieve for genuine loss or even for the losses of others. So every few weeks I write ‘nothing day’ in my daily journal and let that go past.  

All this helps remind me that ultimately I do have control of my life — not in every way or all the time, but in a lot of ways that matter.

7 thoughts on “WRITING ON

  1. The photos kinda look like me, but the seagull looks like I really feel—I guess I should have tried to smile—a real feather in a dog hair hat or something like that—does writing ever have two t’s in it? Oh well. Happy Easter!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful. Those morning walks sound divine, the rhythm of the days, lovely, in spite of the swirling and limitations of the pandemic. We have been walking alot here too on the other coast in Maine, discovering many new (for us) conservation trails through the woods along the coastal bay inlets. Gorgeous pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

      • With all the inlets and peninsulas here you can see it both rise and sink in the bay! But the sunrises over the bay are wonderful indeed. Maybe you’ll take a xcountry trip one day. It looks oddly similar!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Karen is right about the Maine coast – it is gorgeous, in a class by itself. Living in the mid-Atlantic, I’ve not seen Maine’s shores as much as I have the Delmarva or North Carolina coasts (both of which have been way too built up and commercialized in many places) but there are still some magic areas here.

    Liked by 1 person

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