Friday was Cinco de Mayo. Since I don’t post on Friday, I have placed this note here.
Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day are opposite sides of the same coin, as I explained in 115. St. Patrick’s Day with Juan O’Malley, last year. I also had something to say about racial identity in 144. Who Said You Were Mexican?, on Cinco de Mayo, a year ago today. I don’t want to repeat those posts, but you are welcome to click and visit.
Now, today’s post, beginning with a quote from Cyan:
For the colonists, the world that loomed beyond the perimeter fence was a fearsome enemy. Cyan’s climate aggravated the problem. The colony was situated in the region of spring — or autumn, depending on your psychological makeup. But it was neither spring nor autumn, and as the year wore on there grew up an unhealthy expectancy. Minds and bodies geared to seasonal change had a gene deep awareness that spring had been prolonged past its time — an awareness that slowly changed to a deep, unarticulated dread.
In Cyan, I made a great deal out of the lack of seasons, because seasons are so overwhelmingly important on Earth. Of course, people who were born and lived all their lives in Hawaii or Tahiti probably look at that claim and say, “What the heck is he talking about?” But most of us know.
Here in the foothills of the Sierras, half the year is harsh, brown and dry. The other half is green, and during that rainy seasons wild flowers not only come in profusion, but they also come in order.
First comes miner’s lettuce, with tiny flowers in the center of large, circular leaves. Not impressive as flowers, really, but a life saver for the the vitamin starved miners during the gold rush. Then comes Blue Dick. Now don’t blame me; I didn’t name it, and it is lovely despite its name.
The lupine come early middle and late, in a variety of colors. When my wife and I first came to the foothills, we learned most of the names, but now we mostly just look and enjoy.
What has this to do with writing? It’s the way I choose to live, and the places my characters go are mostly places I wouldn’t mind accompanying them.
In New York City today, there are writers inhabiting dim, smoky bars, gathering material for their next novel. More power to them. I couldn’t take it.
For me, I spend my green winter going out twice a week to see how the wildflowers are coming along, and gathering material for my next novel. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.