Remember the memoir I’m writing? I can’t blame you for forgetting. I pretty much forgot it myself ;). I have to turn in my revised draft on Friday. Stanford University has given me extensions for this last portion of the Writing Certificate program, mainly because of selling our business over the past year plus, and this is the last one. I haven’t gotten enough done, what with an overload of work (yeah, still lots of work-work) and my dad’s illness. So this week I am writing like mad. Hence not much of a post today.
Here is what the desert looks like right now as I write: covered in yellow blossoms.
March usually means spring in Phoenix. This year, though, February was a lot like spring. I haven’t wanted to say much about it because I know how many of you have been struggling with a rough winter. Let’s hope most of that is behind you now. If not, remember that sometimes we get some negative with the positive. And that’s what I’m writing about here.
Some February days it is so cold in Phoenix that I have to wear a wool coat. But I don’t mind too much because I know that sunny and temperate days await me in March and April. And I am happy to wait for late March when the snakes wake up from their hibernation.
But this year, with the weather in the 80s in February, the local television stations issued warnings during their news reports: “Warmer weather brings out snakes earlier this year.”
So I’ve been on the lookout for snakes for a month now. The snakes to worry about are rattlesnakes, but most people don’t like to find any kind of snake in their path. Most people respond as Emily Dickinson’s persona describes:
A narrow fellow in the grass
You may have met him, -did you not?
His notice sudden is.
The grass divides as with a comb,
A spotted shaft is seen;
And then it closes at your feet
And opens further on.
He likes a boggy acre,
A floor too cool for corn.
Yet when a child, and barefoot,
I more than once, at morn,
Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash
Unbraiding in the sun, –
When, stooping to secure it,
It wrinkled, and was gone.
Several of nature’s people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone.
That swift intake of breath, the quickening of the pulse, the flipflop of the stomach . . . . Yup, I’m just like most people!
King snake behind my house in a previous year
We have a variety of snakes in this area, but the most common snake near my house is the King snake. These are the big black snakes with beautiful creamy stripes. They are non-venomous snakes that eat baby rattlesnakes, so I think of them as protectors of my property. But they are large and powerful and do bite–and they are snakes, after all. We also have gopher snakes, which are huge and brown and mimic rattlesnakes by raising their shoulders to make their heads look wider and pretending to rattle their tails.
I haven’t seen a snake yet this year, but I am careful not to reach into a pot or behind a watering can without looking first.
I’m telling you all this about snakes so that you realize that the beautiful spring weather we’ve had this winter doesn’t come without “thorns.” But there is no doubt that it is beautiful.
Many of our flowering shrubs, trees, and plants have bright yellow blossoms.
I’ve got some writing projects going on right now that have time constraints. Writing my book is mainly an open-ended, not-time-schedule-driven endeavor, but other writing must get done by the deadlines (real and self-imposed). Still, I can’t write for too long a period at a time as I get burned out really fast. Lucky for me, it’s spring and there are a lot of reasons to pull out my camera.
Yesterday I went to the grocery store with my husband. While I followed him out (he had parked after dropping me off, so I didn’t know where the car was), I caught sight of the church next door. The sunlight was shining through the super-cool and at-risk-for-demolition thingie on top of the building. So I pulled out my always-handy camera and started snapping shots. When I was done, I kept walking to the car. That’s when I heard a honking waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind me. It was hubby, watching me walk mindlessly in the wrong direction.
When I got in the car laughing hysterically at myself, he (lovingly) said, “You’re such a nerd. Who do you think you are? Georgia O’Keeffe?”
I said NO because everybody knows that Georgia O’Keeffe was a painter and photography model, not a photographer. (Ok, I admit that’s just me being a smart mouth. I am–as you can see–no photographer, but I am a nerd with a camera, and that’s all I aspire to be).
In keeping with O’Keeffe’s paintings of flowers and of Arizona, here are the flowers I saw this week: