I blame this long lapse on the Pandemic. Being restricted should have had the opposite effect. With few distractions, wouldn’t I have wanted to write? It appears I was absorbed by the drama — the suffering and deaths, the stories every night on television of the terrors of intubation, of patients having to die alone, and families for fear of catching the disease prevented from being at the bedsides of loved ones.
As if this wasn’t enough, what was happening to our democracy under a “leadership” where lies always prevailed over truth.
But as a lover of nature, nothing equaled the horror of my beloved earth being irrevocably changed by a new climate, where the west shriveled under an ever hotter sun where rainfall came in bursts or not at all. A lover of clouds, flowing streams and the beguiling scent of the first few drops of rain at the beginning of a storm, I was a lost soul unmoored from everything I held dear.
Today is February 10, 2022, the second day when the thermometer topped 84 degrees and when less than a tenth of an inch of rain fell during January, considered one of the rainiest months. After a December of generous rain (almost 10 inches), we thought this was a good start to a good winter.
I try to write something every day. I’m committed to writing a nature column for our retirement facility’s monthly newsletter. I make uninspired entries in my nature notebook. I have kept these notebooks since the 1980s when I lived in the Berkeley Hills in a house with it’s view over the Bay. The open land next to me provided a generous helping of natural events. What I write now is a cursory almanac of when I got up, the current temperature and weather forecast. At least something. To both deepen and elevate my thoughts, I had resolved to read a poem every day, but of course I haven’t.
I still have my moments of joy like this week when the brilliant observations in Rebecca Solnit’s “Orwell’s Roses” shook me awake enough to write some passages in my notebook with the bold black pen I now use.
Though I’m not sure it belongs in my Santa Barbara blog, I was inspired to write a heartfelt piece about Angora Lake as yet another forest fire ate its way up the western flank of the Sierra Nevada. It might be worth publishing if only to jog the feelings of readers about their mountain retreat.