Winter journeys

Had a wonderful drive up the North Fork yesterday to do some interviews. Though there was some slush for much of the way, which grabbed the tires of my vehicle and made driving occasionally dicey (especially in my low-clearance Honda Civic), the views were spectacular as clouds rolled in and out, revealed snow-covered trees and the beautiful North Fork of the Flathead, which this time of year seems still and placid. I am beginning to know the bends and curves of the road so well I can let my mind wander through the landscape. And since the drive is an hour and a half one way (and only 40 miles), that’s a lot of pondering!

It’s hard to tell in photographs how really colorful winter can be under its snowy mantle. The wet bark on the trees is a deep mahogany color. The green of new growth pine stands out brightly against the drifts. And the occasional critter you might see is a flash of life and color in the landscape.

After a thoroughly enjoyable day (I am always more relaxed up the North Fork — I think it’s because the pace of life up there is what life used to be like; in the summer, people are busy tending their gardens and working on their homes. But in the winter, everyone slows down and enjoys quiet chats with a plate of cookies in front of the fire while watching big, fat snowflakes drift lazily through the lodgepoles. Every home’s host(ess) you go to offers you at the very least some tea or coffee and frequently you find yourself sitting down for lunch (and second lunch and third lunch… I feel like a hobbit!).

Below is my best photo (which is still blurry – grumble grumble) of some elk I saw on my drive home. I saw two elk cows, a calf and I think a bull elk. Also saw a number of deer.

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Snow falling on lodgepoles (and writing confessions)

So I have a confession to make. Well, two. First of all, I failed at NaNoWriMo. I got behind after spending a weekend sleeping off a nasty cold and well, it snowballed from there. But I do have 7,000 words that I think are a great start to my novel, which I am still excited about. Perhaps I will go home tonight and write some more!

Second confession: I’m feeling rather down right now about my writing (maybe that’s part of the reason I didn’t finish NaNo?). I write for a living, so all day, every day, I am expected to be creative and coherent. This makes going home to write creatively a challenge sometimes. I also feel lazy sometimes when it comes to this blog. I want to write beautifully about even the most mundane events in my life, but I feel like I don’t have the energy. This isn’t all the time of course, but do you ever have the feeling you’re doing everything in your life half ass? That’s how I feel right now and it’s upsetting. I also read a lot of news articles, blogs and literature and I can’t help but wonder every now and then what’s the point. I can write well, yes, but not spectacularly. Guess I just need more practice.

I think I need to go stare at snow falling on lodgepoles for a while for perspective. There’s something to be said for standing still in the middle of a frozen road listening to the snow fall. I enjoyed that yesterday and shot the above photo.