Slung between the great Rocky Mountains and their racing
cousin (Pike’s Peak, the first barrier met by waves of humanity pouring west
over vast plains three generations ago) is a shallow valley 1.7 miles closer to
the sun than the sea.
…A majestic place where molten minerals burst through
bedrock clefts; hissing at the cool moist atmosphere that hushed it into
eternal stillness long, long ago.
Grasses grew… Roots of conifers reached deep to support
their grandeur… Flowers coaxed bees to hum and birds to sing… Creatures majestic and diminutive raised
endless generations of young.
From then until now, morning’s breezes whisper between
trees; pushing playful wooly clouds that peekaboo with the over-bright sun and
a sky too blue for any artist’s pallet of paints. If it pleases, a gusty
afternoon will twist fiercely with unprecedented rage into boiling leaden
clouds that bullet hail before blessing the thirsty land with nurturing rain or
a light blanket of snow.
Each day, between the splendor and awe of the rising and
setting sun, a thermometer may soar and fall four or five times the temperature
range felt on the beautiful hills of my gran-cestors on the verge of Wales in English
Charcoal hues of volcanic soil encourage meadows of high-country
flowers from seed born on wind and wildlife into the ancient caldera for a
parade of color as grazers mow, nest are filled and fledged, and fawns outgrown
their dappled coats.
Protective northern ramparts of gold-rich pink granite peaks
stand between this high valley and bullying winter storms, granting entry to only
a dusting of feather-light flakes. Seldom mounting to more than a hand’s height
of drifting crystalline water; never enough snow to sled, only occasionally
enough to plow, soon running from the nearness of the sun.
But that is winter and this is the cusp of summer. Greening
meadows are garnished with festive, fairy-shaped wildflowers. Witnessing
evergreen boughs droop with cone buds and song birds in courtship colors.
Aspens cover their pale smooth limbs with clapping lime green coin-shaped
leaves. And the sky…
…the liquid sapphire expanse delineating vistas, drawing my
eye from the pen at the end of my reach into eternity. I can never, never get
enough of the too blue sky.
for the dial-up internet connection to download emails....
Gidget (nearly 6-months old) has a solution for idle time in the mountains. It works for most things. But for uploading my next blog post, the only solution is to trek down the mountain during the community library's 16-hour work week. Perhaps next week, or the week after... Mountain time is flexible (when the wild flowers are blooming and the wild fires are in the next county).
I spent my writer-development money this year…
it on the Page” was the theme for the annual Writer’s Workshop (June 16-19) at ‘the
castle’ of Glen Eyrie Conference Center in Colorado Springs www.gleneyrie.org. Four different
workshop tracks, led by Angela Hunt, Kathy Mackel, Bill Myers and Nancy Rue,
supported every kind and stage of writing.
year Nancy Rue introduced a new workshop track for writers emerging from ‘The
End’ of their manuscripts. This is a frightening place for unpublished writers.
It’s best not to proceed without an expert guide.
seeking admission to Nancy’s ‘advanced writers’ class permitted a peek at their
newborn books. Each of the sixteen manuscript samples Nancy approved was
returned with a generous cover letter teaming with praise and guidance as well
as instructive line-edits. Our collective instructional needs became the basis
for our tailor-made curriculum. All this in advance of our convergence on the
took care to know us personally before shepherding her flock of white-knuckled
writers through the arduous process of polishing and preparing our completed
manuscripts for the next level. It’s a scary time for a writer but our
fledgling manuscripts and flighty writing egos were as safe as the indigenous
Colorado Big Horn Sheep that grazed the lush lawns of the castle grounds. Nancy
answered our feeble bleats for leadership with tender nudges and palms of
praise for our tiniest leaps up the dizzying precipices toward publication.
three days, she gave morning instruction based on our conglomerate needs and on
two afternoons we lined up for one-on-one meetings with her. This was in
addition to twice-daily sessions with all four instructors (a keynote presentation
and a panel each day). It was exhausting – it was fun – I made new friends – I
slept three nights in a castle. I departed ‘full to the brim and stuffed to the
gills’ (courtesy of Glen Eyrie’s multi-course meals plus bountiful snacks and
attentiveness of the hospitality staff).
Glen Eyrie? Besides the obvious ‘cool’ of a castle retreat…
is a serious leap between a new writer’s manuscript and the narrow, steep climb
toward publication. I chose to prepare for that leap somewhere gloriously
beautiful with folks I trusted to laugh, cry and walk a mile with me.
a bonus, I enjoyed a lovely Victorian High Tea with my dear friend Pam. Lovely.