Thursday, October 10, 2013

Deenie and Delaine, or An Unexpected Cardinal

Ahead of this week's cool front, flocks of hummingbirds have been darting around the arboretum. I have been chasing a good photo of them, practicing a patient, aimless lurk beside the bushes they seem to favor. I now have a collection of photos of invisible hummingbird wakes, dark hummingbird shapes giving me the cold shoulder, and blurry commotions near Turks' caps and sage blossoms--and memories of cartoon sound effects as they zipped by my shoulders.

It was to see if any hummingbirds lingered after this first, minor cool front that I was once again lurking by the sage bushes yesterday. I slipped around a curve in the path to find a crimson cardinal hanging on to a thin stem of sage, just a few inches above the mulch. It saw me, dove upward through the lilac and white sage flowers, and was gone. The colors...that velvet red, the delicate purple tint, and the spotlight-bright white...were a perfect clash that threw each into relief, a flash of upcoming holidays--joy as lightning across your memory.

And I, immediately trying to bleed the awe from my experience, decided to make fun of it, to turn it into the symbol for a chick lit fable. Quilts, Christmas, and Delaine on her porch thinking about her grandmother Deenie...maybe a brief snapshot in honor of the real photo that I missed.

Deenie and Delaine, however, moved right into my brain and have decided to stay and chat. They think Nano sounds interesting...a novel in a month? Won't that be fun! Let me tell you...

Now it looks like my November novel draft will be less bees and lizards and Sunflower Queens and more grandmothers and legacies. Maybe it's a good time for that. I'll save the bees for next summer.

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