Stem cells for Frosty the Snowman are falling from the sky as I write this. Snowflakes as big as dandruff from a dinosaur. No secret that I’ve become habituated to winter. It’s the cc skiing of course. The feelings of motion and freedom just go together with soft, silent magic over crystal dunes and under scented boughs. But it has to muscle-powered. Things that go “v-room v-room” or otherwise transport my sorry derriere in an armchair onto trails and lakes just kill it for me – kill the still beauty and the whole idea of integrating one’s complete self with a spiritual wilderness. I’d rather share than shatter that pristine universe, which is odd, considering how solitary I am. Maybe it’s because nature’s honest venues are where I’m most inspired, whereas social conventions and pretensions tend to smother me.
I can and do live in both worlds, of course, but the more I learn about life, the less inclined I am to waste time, and I think most people are that way. We all get a little bolder (maybe the word is bored) as time passes and a little less afraid to live the way we want, the way our hearts tell us in contrast to pressure. It ain’t a dress rehearsal! So I did some really crazy stuff this month, like hunt down a nearly inaccessible beaver dam I could see from a cliff. Seriously. Flooded reed beds and thickets that had me on my belly or caught like I was in a game of Twister put the final outcome in doubt until it was there at my feet. Even the beavers couldn’t believe a crazy biped showed up in their inner sanctum. Or that I came back three days running, including one night.
Five of the photos below are from beaver dam expeditions. Was going to take Norby Nation, my adoptive family, there one day, but the kids range in age from 5 to 10 and the temperature almost matched their ages, so we postponed the adventure, playing cards all afternoon and eating gourmet PB&J cinnamon-raisin sandwiches instead. Maybe that was what reminded me of the cinnamon & vanilla candles that became a tradition four Christmases ago, so I’ve included a picture of the originals by way of saying season’s greetings to you, along with a photo of my front yard. And then there’s the Green Grinch -- another Doc Foto bit of mischief (if you look closely at the ornament, you’ll see the evil doctor hisself).
Naturally, all those hours spent in quest of a beaver dam, exposing the secret life of things rooted in the earth, suggested themes to a writer. How’s this for an opening sentence: Right after it was discovered that plants had fully functioning nervous systems, Vegan Vicki decided to go back to scarfing down double quarter-pound bozo burgers with bacon and horking the extra baby bunny sauce. Well, maybe I can submit it to the Bulwer Lytton contest for worst opening lines. Did that once before and that entry was published in their annual Best Of… book.
Apologies if there is a real Vegan Vicki out there. Let me give you Vicki Tyley, Australian writer/photographer who does get it about nature: http://eucalypthabitat.blogspot.com/ . And megathanks for all the cards & gifts – though death by chocolate is inescapable now (Chocolaholic Jesse Lions, if you’re reading this, bring Willie Wonka and save me!). Also, received two copies of a video shot in Hungary. If you like funny dog stuff, this Christmas gem sent by Jean in Florida and Dorie in Colorado will tickle your kibbles ‘n’ bits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUtPKbMwnRo And to Hal in LV, if you do take that cruise and I do turn pirate in a kayak, I will find you even if I have to zigzag all the shipping lanes between the Caribbean and Somalia!
What I wrote up front about being a little less afraid to live the way we want as time passes, the way our hearts tell us in contrast to pressure, fits in with my December column over at Storytellersunplugged.com. Here’s the link: http://storytellersunplugged.com/thomassullivan/2009/12/16/thomas-sullivan-sea-lions-in-coffins-getting-lost-writing-without-words/ . Would appreciate feedback if these newsletters don’t view properly in your e-mail, as last month a couple readers mentioned they came in oversize fonts. Don’t know why that happened, though most mail applications will allow you to change the font size (usually under View on the toolbar or with a Zoom box in the lower right corner).
May I invite you to follow me on Twitter? It’s fun and won’t intrude on your computer. 2 samples of recent Tweets: I’ve been practicing stupidity all day. Then I realized something very profound. I don’t need to practice... And… Considering the number of vitamin pills that have rolled under the ‘fridge, I have the healthiest spiders in the Universe. Here’s the link: http://twitter.com/thomassullivan . I’ll also be happy to put you on the mailing list for free newsletters packed with stories and adventures, including photos, if you email me at: email@example.com . Past newsletters (and columns) are archived at the author’s website below under News & Articles. Have an inspiring Christmas & a magical new year.
Thomas “Sully” Sullivan
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