Montana Wolf

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Sea-Change Shuffle

Baker Lake, a favorite kayak spot

A gnawed-on pork rib bone and a cold cup of espresso bookend my laptop. I've procrastinated all I can today. What one part of me proclaims to be a well-deserved rest from the written word, another calls an excuse for the whip. As if taking six weeks off from writing is the genesis of original sin. A seasoned editor at several publishing houses recently shared she is going to retire this year. She saw me through two book publications and told me that of all the authors she has worked with over the years I am the most tenacious; her compliment, a blessing and curse.

I arrived the Pacific Northwest on winter solstice to write the sequel to Drive Me Wild: A Western Odyssey. The universe, with the help of travel aficionado Rick Steves, had other plans, as I jumped tracks to exhume the out-of-print words from the "Land of Enchantment." New Mexico's Sanctuaries, Retreats and Sacred Places 2014 joined the digital and print worlds with 133 color photographs. The most arduous editing task of my life left me exhausted on summer's doorstep.

David and Hope
Hope's Graduation Day
My daughter Hope graduated from a master's program at the University of Oregon in June. I travelled to Eugene, whereupon her dad/my Ex, David, and I joined Hope for the special event. It had been twenty-two years since we had sat together. It was a deeply moving evening of memories, laughter and loving tears. I returned to Washington State and back-to-back visits by friends. Then I embarked on three weeks of R&R, kayaking Puget Sound, exploring thrift stores, hiking and dancing at the Edison Inn, a historic bar up the road where the local folks, from twenty to eighty, gather in the name of fun. Live music begins at 5:30 on Sundays. Perfect.

I also completed an interior makeover of  LaPerla, my travel trailer, adding new space savers like a maple magnetic knife holder. I've spruced up the colors with blue-green kitchen cupboard pull handles, purple window coverings and turquoise cushions. I upholstered a bit. All this as the nagging voice in my head kept asking if I was ever going to write again. You'd think after all of these years I could catch a break.

Gull with Clam
It is not a question of if I will write but how, as my spirit accustoms itself to this lush landscape. It is a time of dramatic evolution, from thirty-plus years in the arid southwest to the northwest's Salish Sea.  I have no answers, except to watch my hand, one click away from the sequel's computer file, my index finger poised to push. The move will not come lightly. I know what the the open folder means -- the possession that my will ensue in the commitment to words and cadence. I know the second Rick Steves interview, this time on Drive Me Wild, will air August 16th. I feel the liquid chrysalis state taking form.

Soon enough I'll toss the bone to Teak, swill the cold espresso and give that mouse a hearty click, intent to mingle play and work amidst the summer's sea change. Just one more kayak, please. And a few high-country hikes.

Kayaking island to island in the San Juans

Day's Gracious End on the Skagit River


Thanks for stopping by and giving your precious minutes to my words. Visit for more. Join me on Facebook at
And at this especially troubling hostile time around the world, be peace.


  1. What a wonderful time for you - savoring your daughter's success, enjoying time with family and moisturized by the beautiful Northwest.

    1. Thank you. You summed it up beautifully. So proud of Hope and her commitment to Green City Planning, more specifically community gardens.

  2. Love the worlds you bridge...the sacred and the profane, the common and the wild...thank you!!!!

    1. You, astrologer extraordinaire, no doubt have a pretty good handle on my interior terra infirma. xoxo

  3. Well, I'll try this again .... Christina, always good to read you. Wishing you the joy that comes when the writing is truly underway, and validating the concept that the Muse will lead, and, in the meantime, your hand and heart will turn to whatever is before you. Nance

  4. Dear have given yourself the permission for R&R and are enjoying that gorgeous NW weather you've been having. No need to flog yourself and feel remiss. The long gray days will arrive before you know it and you will have ample time to devote to your next book. Your words above made me (for some strange reason) remember the beautiful lichen and mosses we saw on one of the hikes and I thought this....Lichens do not have roots and do not need to tap continuous reservoirs of water, thus they can grow in locations impossible for most plants, such as bare rock, sterile soil or sand, and various artificial structures such as walls, roofs and monuments.
    You will soon become productive...prolifically so I suspect. In the meantime....enjoy the kayaking, the hikes, the other joys you are finding and keep dancing. You will know when it's the right time to buckle down and let those fingers fly. As for me...I can't wait to hear how the next tome will take shake out.

  5. Amazing how many things can interfere with plans!
    You will settle in one day soon.

  6. And the writing flows. Enjoyed this update on the further adventures of Christina Nealson. It is always good to step away from intense projects sometimes. To rest, regroup--in breath and out. As you know so well, it is all part of that great cycle. Now the wheel turns again--and the story will flow ---like all that water you've been soaking up!