Wednesday, March 14, 2007

tough flowers

As Mr. Groundhog predicted last month, spring has sprung early here on the prairie. I planted these crocus bulbs several years ago, in a little patch of hard, rocky soil next to our pump house. But they're tough little blooms ready to herald the arrival of the Vernal Equinox next week, and each year they prove that they won't be deterred from doing their job, despite lack of pampering. I like that in a flower.

And speaking of things resilient and beautiful, yesterday I got to see some old playgroup friends I haven't seen since before we moved to the Bay Area for our year-long sabbatical. For the first few minutes of our brief reunion everyone just stood around marveling at how much all the kids had grown. One of these families has been a part of our life since our son was just a year old, the other since our daughter was younger than that. And there's something about forming friendships as a new parent that must provide extra glue; although I haven't seen these women in well over a year, it felt like we just picked up where we'd left off. It's nice to know those bonds transcend the temporary convenience of early childhood play dates because Lord knows we moms have all been to H-E-double-toothpicks and back in various ways since playgroup unofficially disbanded a couple of years ago. I may not live in a mansion, and I may not drive a Rolls, but these women remind me that I am rich with friends-for-life friends.

In other news, I'm still laboring daily at a draft the new book, which is finally deciding to cut me some slack. In this respect it's a far cry from my last novel, which seemed to spring to life almost fully formed, like Athena from the forehead of her daddy, Zeus. I was on fire with that last one, writing more often than not in what felt like a state of near-effortless inspiration. Little did I know how cushy I had it. But I'm excited by this new book, and it seems somehow fitting, given the gritty storyline and characters, that I should have to sweat over it a little. My dad commented the other day that I must be as busy as a one-armed paper-hanger, which is a figure of speech I like (and may use).

That's all from the Western Front for now. Time for me to don the helmet and flak jacket (i.e. sit at my keyboard and open up the draft file) again, 'cause "I'm goin' in."

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