It's been silent around here because I said "yes" to too many things, some of which don't help pay the bills (but were irresistible) and thus make paying the bills even more challenging than usual. I've been teaching; planning for future teaching events; freelance editing; trying to keep on top of Nomad Press concerns; and writing articles on topics that are huge, complicated—and fascinating.
There will be an article in the summer 2012 issue of Spin-Off on the relationships between fiber diameter, softness, and crimp (not a full discussion, because that wasn't possible).
Most recently I've been working on another article for another publication, on a HUGE topic that I only took on because I wanted to know enough to write it. Which means I've been researching. And thinking about how to condense the information into the available, limited space. I've been poking at the subject(s) for several months, collecting bits and pieces, writing sections, getting flashes of insight. But I have been frustrated by my inability to bring the scraps together into a coherent whole. In the past, I have been blessed with a week here and there at one or another location away from home, where I could concentrate. I've had an open invitation to use one of these places since January, but I haven't been able to get here.
I saw a two-day spot in my calendar and seized it. I drove up yesterday. I'm in the mountains. It's quiet. While there are uncounted numbers of items on my "to be done by last week" list, my goal for these two days is to complete writing that piece.
As of this morning, I have 1600 of the 3000 words written, and I think they're in decent shape (i.e., won't need to be ripped completely apart and rewritten). There's plenty of material to fill out the remaining 1400 words, although I need to do a little more research before I can write the next section. Plus I slept on an air mattress for the first half of last night, and only the second half of the night (couch) was really restful.
So I decided that after lunch a walk would be a good idea: between snow flurries (the snow from early this morning didn't last past noon).
I intended to walk up to the highest point on the road, then turn around and walk back down. That's always a wise approach to exercise on the first day at an altitude higher than the one I'm accustomed to. Just before the turn to the last switchback, I heard something crunch and looked up.
My camera has a little zoom lens on it, but definitely not a telephoto. (To quote the manufacturer's specs, "a full 6.0 megapixels of imaging power and a high-quality 4x optical zoom lens.")
The reason I heard the CRUNCH was that the other obvious megafaunal inhabitant of that piece of the planet had just taken a bite. And I was that close.
I decided to retrace my steps instead of taking the switchback, which goes up the hill just behind the amazingly multi-hued diner.
Here's what I saw as I descended:
That gives a sense of how steep the terrain is and how the moose and I hadn't noticed each other until I was pretty much eye-to-eye with it.
Heading downhill again, there was this:
And then this:
Which turned out to be this:
That photo isn't as clear as the first one because I was walking on the far edge of the dirt road, to give as much space between us as possible, and I just held up my camera as I was passing and clicked the shutter. The first moose seemed calm despite my presence. This second one was a bit skittish, and less sanguine about my presence. I didn't want to disturb either of them. The path of least disturbance was the one I took.
To get enough walk in, I went to the bottom of the road, coming across this:
Apparently at least one of the moose had been down lower earlier in the day. Not much earlier: the scat was pretty fresh.
So I huffed my way back up the hill, feeling like I'd chosen the perfect time for a break. Here's what the weather looked like as I climbed:
And now I need to sit here at the table and sketch out a timeline of a couple thousand years so I can write the next paragraph or two of that article.
There's a lot of sheep-related stuff going on in my life, including several blog posts I've started but not had time to finish. Those stories will have to wait, unfortunately, for clearer brain-space.
Happy moose day, though!