Each day comes bearing its own gifts.
Untie the ribbons.
~Ruth Ann Schabacker
Because my weekdays are filled with to-do lists and have-to’s, I cultivate a sense of slowing down on the weekends. The walks I take are longer. The pauses to talk to my cats are more frequent. I smell the air like a wild animal, not sure what the day will bring. It is a time of coming alive again, of thinking different thoughts, of letting my mind roam where it will.
In a way, I become a different person, a weekend person, looking for balloons flying high in the sky, listening for children’s laughter, and anticipating the smell of good coffee as I enter a cafe.
We all have the ability to look closer: when we do, our world becomes a richer place.
Mindfulness helps you fall in love with the ordinary. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Cracked volcanic rock, almost elephantine in its folds and crevices, lined a short walk on my way back to the Museum of Northern Arizona near Flagstaff.
What delighted me about this canyon was the overabundance of lichen, profligate in its blooming on this rough cliff wall. I wondered about the partnership between algae and fungus which produces lichen, and about its role in our modern world as a signal of pollution. Like the canary in the mine who only sings when the air is pure, lichen bloom only where high mountain air is unpolluted by industrial fumes.
And lichen are ancient. Some lichen colonies can be over 9000 years old. And older still is the rock to which they cling.
Nine thousand years from now, what will be our human legacy on this earth? Will our species still be as beautiful as these volcanic partners?
I’m on the final edits of the fourth Pegasus Quincy novel. This one is called PERIL IN SILVER NIGHTSHADE and gets its title from a poisonous plant prevalent in Red Rock State Park near Sedona, Arizona.
Soon it will be LIVE in both Kindle and paperback versions.
Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing There is a field. I’ll meet you there. ~Rumi
I once went exploring a side road on the Navajo Reservation leading to Leupp, Arizona. The road went up the hill following its own inclinations, sometimes bearing left to miss a pothole, sometimes right to veer around a creosote bush.
The road knew where it would end up. I couldn’t see that far ahead. But I believed it would take me where I needed to be. And it did.
Sometimes we can’t direct where our life will take us. We only can follow what seems to be the best path, hold on, and trust.
I’m a mystery fan, but typically don’t read historical mysteries.
I’m glad I gave this one a try.
The author, Barbara Hambly, has a master’s degree in medieval history, but takes her research skills in another direction with this first-in-a-series of about sixteen Benjamin January mysteries set in pre-Civil War New Orleans.
One of the things that makes this novel so strong is the richness of the writing. This is not a book that you can zip through, but if you take the time to savor the details, the author can transport you to this time and place.
For example, take her description of one of the run down sections of historical New Orleans called The Swamp:
“Most of the grog shops were open, barkeeps dispensing Injun whisky from barrels to long-haired flatboat men across planks laid over barrels, white men grouped around makeshift tables playing cards, and small groups of black men visible in alleyways, on their knees in the mud and weeds, shooting dice. In several cottages the long jalousies already stood open, revealing seedy rooms barely wider than the beds they contained, the women sitting on the door sills with their petticoats up to their knees, smoking cigars or eating oranges, calling out to the men as they passed.”
Ms. Hambly is particularly adroit at describing the class system that ruled New Orleans at the time: the French-Creole at the top, followed the “colored,” mixed-race individuals, and on the bottom rungs, the Black slaves and American flatboat men.
Benjamin January is a classically trained musician, a skilled surgeon who studied in Paris, and a former slave. When he is accused of murder he must discover the real killer before he is tried without a jury or worse, sold back into slavery.
A riveting tale! I am delighted that there are so many more January mysteries ahead of me.