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Posts Tagged ‘owl’

Animals and Nature are usually woven into my stories, poems, non-fiction, and art. I think my interest in Nature and all her creatures started when I was young. My Granny, who lived on property that joined my parent’s backyard, gardened in the early morning and was kind to the neighborhood strays and neglected animals. As a child, I could usually be found tagging along with her.

My family vacationed for a week each summer from the time I was 5 in a cabin in the West Virginia mountains. Deer, raccoons, opossums, snakes, bears, crayfish, minnows, salamanders, bats, and birds were plentiful and often encountered. Unfortunately, so were mice – but that’s a different tale!

I’ve always enjoyed growing flowers, vegetables, and berries. I’ve always loved watching wild animals and having pets. In fact, since I’m short, have never been thin, and quite enjoy a well-prepared meal, I think I’d have made a rather good (though tall at 5’2”) hobbit!

In the beginning of The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien describes the day Gandalf stopped by Bilbo’s home to warn of the coming dwarves thus: “one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green, and the hobbits were still numerous…” More green – that sounds lovely to me.

In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien writes that hobbits are fond of gardening. I especially like the picture painted by this quote from The Fellowship of the Ring (and I can close my eyes and see the image filmed by Peter Jackson for the movie):

Inside Bag End, Bilbo and Gandalf were sitting at the open window of a small room looking out west on to the garden. The late afternoon was bright and peaceful. The flowers glowed red and golden: snap-dragons and sunflowers, and nasturtians trailing all over the turf walls and peeping in at the round windows.

‘How bright your garden looks!’ said Gandalf.

‘Yes,’ said Bilbo. ‘I am very fond indeed of it, and of all the dear old Shire…’”

 I gaze out my window at flowers red and golden: roses, snapdragons, and butterfly weed, and at nasturtiums trailing over a brick wall, and scratch my dog behind her ear. I know I am very fond indeed of Nature, all her creatures, and of living at Wood’s Edge. In both of my short story collections, Owl Light and The Greener Forest, as well as my young adult novel, The Enchanted Skean, animals and plants play important roles. And I suspect, they will always have a special place in my creative work.

For those who’d like to listen to an excerpt from “On a Midwinter’s Eve,” the 1st tale in Owl Light, it’s the reading that begins about 14 minutes into the September 2012 “Nature and Animals” Broad Pod from Broad Universe: http://broadpod.posterous.com/september-2012-animals-and-nature In the excerpt, an owl, wolf, and the winter woods play a role. The complete story has even more animals in it.

So as Bilbo’s much anticipated Birthday Party approaches, I urge you to celebrate Nature and read (or listen to) a story featuring some of her creatures.

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13 Owl Flying extra I’m hard at work putting together Owl Light, my next collection of speculative short stories. Owls and darkness play a role in each tale. And as in my 1st collection, The Greener Forest, I’ll be using a few poems and illustrations for transitions between the stories.

While researching owls and owl folklore, legends, and superstitions, I came across lots of fascinating information. Much of that info found its way into the stories and poems.

Owl fact: While most owls are nocturnal, a few species feed during the day or at dusk. (Therefore, owl light is from dusk to dawn).

Next, a lovely quote about an owl moon: “You don’t need anything but hope. The kind of hope that flies on silent wings under a shining owl moon. ” – Author Unknown

Lastly, a poem by Edward Hershey Richards many of us have heard before. In my case, a warning issued by grown-ups, because I was a chatterbox as a child!

The Wise Owl

A wise owl lived in an oak.

The more he saw, the less he spoke.

The less he spoke, the more he heard.

Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?

Update: now available, Owl Light.

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It’s difficult to write a winter tale in the swelter of a Georgia summer, but that’s what I found myself doing last week.

I was working on a story set in a snow-covered forest with an approaching blizzard. The oscillating fan at the end of the RV’s sofa stood in nicely for the north wind. The rush of icy air that poured from the freezer when I opened it to grab a handful of cubes for my tea chilled my arm. The white curtains fluttering between the driver & passenger seats and the living area of the RV reminded me of a barn owl’s wing. (There’s an owl in the story). The sandy-colored dog sprawled at my feet took on deer-form. (And a deer in the tale, too). And the perspiration dripping from my brow became snowmelt.

The working title of the tale is “A Midwinter’s Eve,” and I’m hoping it will appear in a new anthology, Rush of Wings, from Soylent Publications (Jhada Rogue Addams, Publisher) that will feature skewed fairy tales, myths, and legends. But even if the story doesn’t make it into that collection, I want to write “A Midwinter’s Eve” well enough that some other editor will find it publishable.

Note in the first sentence I used the word difficult rather than impossible. Difficult tasks are challenging, but do-able. And with a little imagination and stick-to-it-ness, a story can be written, a picture drawn, or a problem overcome.

The weather at Wood’s Edge in rural Maryland is more fall-like, so my next draft of “A Midwinter’s Eve” will be perhaps an easier write. But easier or not, I will write! And I encourage each of you to face your challenges, whether large or small, because as Joshua J. Marine put it: “Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

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