Dec 20 2016

Breathing in the Cold, Crisp Air

As we drove along the dark roads under the sheltering shadows of trees, the face of a mountain rose up before us like a monolith, ghostly in the blue moonlight, while the stars sprinkled the noctilucent sky behind. All of us in the car — except the one sleeping — gasped. The night could not hide the grandeur of the mountains that sheltered us in Yosemite valley.

It was the first time to Yosemite National Park for most of us (my mom, my sister, my sister’s friend, and I), and somehow entering the park in the dark, barely being able to see anything other than the mountain aglow was the perfect introduction.

* * *

Visiting Yosemite in the winter is beautiful, but the cold can be exhausting. Our group was in a constant battle against the cold, grasping for every ounce of heat, the heater in our tent barely holding up against the drafts that slipped in through the door and window flaps. It was a good thing we brought our own sleeping bags and an extra assortment of winter gear.

My clothing was mostly California-thin, laughable as winter wear. The cold was a creeping thing, working its way through layers of clothing, to crawl along the skin, slip its way in to settle under the surface, nestle in my bones. I layered pattern upon pattern, not caring about hat conflicting with scarf conflicting with coat, in an attempt to maintain warmth.

Icicles and moss at Yosemite.

Icicles and moss.

* * *

The only time we really got warm was on our hike, our bodies becoming furnaces fighting against the frost and wind as the trail inclined upward, leading us toward rivers and waterfalls and mossy stones and vistas.

Water was everywhere on this trip, sliding over rock faces in grand cascades glittering with a framework of ice or dribbling through cracks, rushing through rivers, leaving slick patches on the trails, nearly invisible and dangerous underneath our feet. It covered everything in during each night, making the whole world glitter.

Yosemite as seen from Tunnel View lookout.

Yosemite as seen from Tunnel View lookout.

* * *

I’ve fallen in love with Yosemite. The place is too beautiful not to return to again and again. I hope I’ll get the chance to return again soon, whether in the frigid cold of winter or the heat of summer.

Half Dome in the setting sun - Yosemite

Half Dome in the setting sun — it almost tricks you into thinking of warmth, doesn’t it?

ANNOUNCEMENTS!

Thank you to the editors of Undead: A Poetry Anthology of Ghouls, Ghosts, and More! I’m looking forward to seeing my poem “Beware of Attics” reprinted within its pages sometime in 2017.

Also, I forgot to mention it before, so I’ll mention it now — latest issue of Nonbinary Review: Anne of Green Gables is now available to read for $1.99.

What I’m Reading

I’m enjoying Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier, a graphic novel about two sisters who move to a coastal town with a local population of specters. The artwork is bright with clean lines and slightly cartoony (as in the characters have large round eyes and exaggerated expressions. Fun, so far.

What I’m Writing

Mostly I’m dealing with end of the year stuff, figuring out just what I accomplished this year and what I need to finish up in order to clean out my files and prep for the new year. This will involve a considerable amount of gathering and editing and arranging, I’m sure.

 

Goals for the Week:

  • Get organized
  • Edit, edit, edit — and submit something

Linky Goodness

“The women in her stories are often constrained – by convention, by their families, by their own fears and subconscious desires. And beneath it all is a sense of powerful, hidden rage – a rage that belies the setting of so much of her fiction. Under the bland surface of these small, suburban communities, something dark is fermenting; something is about to erupt,” writes Joanne Harris on the Shirley Jackson centenary.

Don’t Look Now, But 2016 is Resurrecting Poetry

Have a Creepy Little Christmas with These Unsettling Victorian Cards


Nov 10 2013

Falling into Autumn

The days are getting colder here in Bay Area, California. This really just means that we can wear out light sweaters, maybe with a thin jacket over top. Meanwhile, it will probably be sunny outside, the light bright and happy, despite an ever so slight chill to there. If you’re out taking a walk, you might even build up enough warmth to forgo the jacket entirely.

The leaves are beginning to change, not in a dramatic display of colors as in other region, but a yellowing and the occasional orange. Some trees with skip the over the colors altogether and simply fall in heaps of brown. Others stay solidly green, as though they do not even realize Autumn is upon them.

I have to be grateful for what passes for winter here. How can I not? How can I complain about it being 55°F outside, when there are some areas steadily inching toward subzero temperatures as winter approaches?

And yet, I grow tired of the sunshine and some part of myself longs for a proper storm, for pounding rain, for growing puddles and growling thunder and flashes of lightening. (It would be too much to hope for snow.) I find rain to be cleansing to the spirit. It makes the world smell green and clean, and I feel lightened.

When I was a kid, my brothers and sisters and I would run out into the rain in tank tops and shorts. We’d go down to the parking area, where the spouts spewed water from the second story like a waterfall. We would stand beneath the spouts and pretend they were waterfalls.

Now, I enjoy sitting on the porch, while water falls around me, letting the sound thrum me into relaxation. The tap-tap-tapping of drops in the leaves. I wrap myself up in a blanket, pour a cup of hot tea, open a book, and let it be a backdrop to my afternoon — at least until my fingers grow too cold to turn the pages.

I think days of rain (and maybe it’s because they come so sparingly) are my favorite part of Fall and Winter. They allow moments of comfort and warmth, as you huddle inside, drinking hot cocoa or tea, eating cookies and comforting treats. They allow internal searching, an implied intimacy, as you cuddle close to a loved one.

What are your favorite things about Autumn and Winter?