The stark white trunks of the poplars across the Skagit River disappear behind a lime green curtain of fresh budded leaves. The familiar honks of the elegant-necked Trumpeter swans decreased to one this week, as the white beauties departed for their summer home in Siberia. Winter friends gone; summer chirps arrive. The first white-crowned sparrows. Sapsuckers knocking around in the woods. Eight bull elk with large velvet racks in calm repose, drinking from the sandy river bank. Spring in the PNW (Pacific Northwest) has corralled my senses. The other evening I opened the door to call Hobo and was hit by scented air the likes of which I have never known. And it didn't go away. It permeated my body with just the right balance of damp and perfume blossom.
I arrived on the Skagit River for the winter to write the sequel to Drive Me Wild. I was making great headway when I took a break to spend a week with Hope, who visited in March for her spring break. Then, all hell broke loose. I'd no more completed the first 100 pages when I received word that yes, the Rick Steves interview with me, "Sacred New Mexico," would be aired Easter weekend. I had less than a month to bring my out-of-print and outdated book, New Mexico's Sanctuaries, Retreats and Sacred Places, into the digital age.
What was I thinking? That I'd merely scan and post it? NOT. It turned into a monumental project of detail work, much of it spawned by New Mexico's new area code. Photos were replaced and twenty added to the new print version; retreats updated; locations confirmed, scanning mistakes identified. The book, which serves as a lovely historical account, still retains places that are now closed. They're designated as such, but continue to add to the story that is quintessential New Mexico. Not the least, the tale behind the closing of the Miraculous Tortilla Shrine, where the image of Jesus appeared to Mrs. Rubio in one of her homespun tortillas.
Down the road are the offices of Rick Steves and his executive producer. As I traipse between ocean and mountain in the damp lush PNW, I return to New Mexico in my imagination and write about the dry, arid splendor of the southwest. The book I thought I came here to birth still gestates, while the one that had stopped breathing is revived and brought into the digital age.
One does not always see what one thinks they see.
Welcome, my new baby --
Ebook available now, print version soon to follow
Thank you Debora, formatter extraordinaire and Emilie, copy editor perfecto. You're the midwives.