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Creek Running North

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April 28, 2005


elk I am back, and readjusting. Abundant thanks to Paul for blogsitting.

Nine chapters of the Joshua tree book drafted, and only fourteen more to go! Or thereabouts. Some of you will be getting the drafts. Lucky people, they.

I woke each morning two hours before my housemates, made coffee, and watched a pair of Bewick's wrens bringing insects to their brood. Every two or three minutes they would come to the little birdhouse on the back deck, bearing the spoils of the hunt: a moth, a cranefly, a caterpillar gleaming like jade from the rose hedge. They would scold me for watching, white eyebrows bobbing as they clucked.

I slept in the same room, in the same bed, as did Ellen Meloy when she was there. Her handwriting in the Room Journal made my blood run cold, then hot. Her shade haunted me a bit. I fervently hoped she would help my desert words come clear and true, and as sparse as possible. I re-read The Last Cheater's Waltz when I could write no longer, and then Refuge and then Desert Solitaire and then A Sand County Almanac and then the oh so poetic Packrat Middens: 40,000 Years of Biotic Change.

In between all that, I somehow edged up close to 20,000 words written, which means about 38,000 words typed and 18,000 deleted. And the ten minute walk to town each morning, ravens and quail and turkey vultures. I kept forgetting to bring the bird guide, so the identity of the great, blue, heronlike bird I saw each day on Jon Rowe's lawn will remain a mystery. I had to pull my blinds in the writer's shed to get any work done. Out the window, Lagunitas Creek rolled past the Giacomini's cows into Tomales Bay. On Inverness Ridge, where tule elk avoid all the tourists save one and the iris braves the wind, the fog rubbed up against the scorched bishop pines of the 1995 Vision Fire.

My own Vision Fire has been stoked.

Posted by Chris Clarke at April 28, 2005 03:12 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Welcome back Chris; missed you. I can't wait to read those 20,000 words. The "great, blue, heronlike bird" wasn't a Great, Blue, Heron?

Posted by: OGeorge at April 28, 2005 03:54 PM
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Welcome back!

Have you read the news today? Oh boy!

Posted by: Ron Sullivan at April 28, 2005 04:50 PM
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Welcome back, Chris. Blogsitting wasn't so bad - generally the comment spam came in bunches all with the same URL, so once I MT-Blacklisted one all the others got removed with one more click as well. And generally I was fast enough on the draw so that only a few instances got through before they were blacklisted.

Posted by: Paul Tomblin at April 28, 2005 06:34 PM
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Welcome back. Sounds like a great, productive journey. Looking forward to reading your eloquent description of it all.

Posted by: Rexroths Daughter at April 29, 2005 08:44 AM
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Chris is back! Yay! My blog-reading time will now be much more profitably spent.

Sounds like a good experience.

Posted by: Vicki at April 29, 2005 11:02 AM
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Hi Chris, I've been enjoying your blog. I'm glad you're back.

Posted by: NoIvory at April 29, 2005 12:57 PM
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welcome back

Posted by: jon stan at April 29, 2005 02:23 PM
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Vision Fire?

Wasn't that, like, a 1980's Demi Moore movie or something?

Posted by: craig at April 30, 2005 11:25 AM
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You're back! Now I know what's been missing from my life these last two weeks...Creek Running North!

(I have a stream running north in my back garden, I just realized.)

Posted by: KathyF at May 1, 2005 01:51 PM
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Welcome back! Happy May Day!

Posted by: Rana at May 1, 2005 01:52 PM
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Hey, I also have a stream North of my house-it runs east, however, but it's still to the north (I think it counts!).

Posted by: limesalttequila at May 2, 2005 12:31 PM
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