Yesterday I had to read galleys for a romance novel coming out in April. I discovered I quite liked it–it’s kind of wild and not very well behaved and features a big strong woman and a hearty half-Maori New Zealander and it’s over the top with Diana images and wolves. The truth is, I hate reading galleys. It’s meant to be only proofreading, and I find it painful not to be able to do a little more fixing. Sometimes, it’s nice to discover the book is pretty solid. Like wild woman Desi and her wolves.
After I faxed my corrections, I walked in Ute Valley Park. It wasn’t something I particularly wanted to do, you understand. There are lots of times I am excited to get out and walk, but I was tired yesterday and didn’t want to, but I knew this storm was coming today and it would be too cold, so I forced myself, knowing it would be good to clear the cobwebs. Move my body. It was a good, hard hike. Treacherous footing in places, and I honestly didn’t start to enjoy it until about 15 minutes in. I was walking along with grumpy thoughts and noticing my aches and pains (a tight shoulder) and whining that I shouldn’t have eaten a half slice of pie, because what’s the point of being so dedicated at exercise if I just keep eating things like pie? and fretting about why my dog is skittish again and thinking about all that needs to be done for Christmas and how to manage a difficult relationship that keeps giving me a headache and doesn’t bring out the best in me, honestly, and what to do about this plot snag and —
And then, a magpie as big as duck flew across the path in front of me and landed on the branch of a stunted ponderosa pine. He was stunning, as magpies are, white and black and shiny blue, proud and somehow focused. He gave me a glance that seemed to say, "oh, lighten up, will ya?" and gestured with one big wing toward the astonishment around us.
Oh, yes. Quite a meadow, isn’t it? Snow melting in rivulets and rushing down the stream. I know coyotes live in the park because I’ve heard them on a hunt (chilling and primal) so I can imagine they’re sleeping in piles in dens I can’t see. There really are a lot of magpies around, and man, they really are beautiful creatures (this photo is not not mine, but a good shot of their splendor). Suddenly, it seemed warmer and my aches and pains were abating and headache is going away. Suddenly, I’m not worrying so much about books or thorny relationships or the fact that I still haven’t done the vacuuming, but just admiring the squishy mud and putting one foot in front of the other in an ancient rhythm. One foot, the other foot. Left right. Left right. Shoulders straighter. Head up.
I ended up walking for an hour and a half, each time taking the turn that would make the walk longer. Just walking, not anything hard (though there are some nicely treacherous moments on a couple of hills to provide focus). Last night, I dreamed of the MIP, all the little connections I haven’t been seeing, and the weather is providing a pleasant reason to skip anything out there and stay HERE to work.
Consider this your first reminder to take time for quiet this holiday season. Is there a particular walk you like to do? Or maybe you don’t walk but do something else to take a time out.