I’m camping in Blue Springs State Park this week, famed as a home to manatees in winter time. I’ve visited this park before as a day visitor, more than once, so it’s not new to me. But this morning while I was walking Zelda, I was imagining myself in a post-apocalyptic world. The kind where plague has taken all the people, not zombies. I wasn’t scared, it just felt incredibly empty. Every other time I’ve been here, there have been lots of people, but of course, that was never before dawn. Then I spotted some manatees in the water and got much more cheerful, because probably if the human beings all died out, the manatees would have a much better chance of surviving. The pros of the apocalypse.

Last night, it rained. My weather app — which honestly, seems fairly useless, except for the immediate weather — had been claiming rain for days, including an entire afternoon of lightning and thunder yesterday, but it didn’t happen until 4:43 AM this morning. I can be so precise about the time because I woke up and it had barely started, a little tap-tap-tap on the roof of Serenity, but as I lay there wondering what that noise was, it really started. It went very quickly from tapping to torrential, which sounds a lot like being inside a drum. Or maybe a heart beat. I haven’t had nearly enough rain in Serenity, because I do enjoy it so much. Last night, I could hear the difference in the sounds of the rain hitting the roof and the rain hitting the plastic vents over the fans. It was music, definitely. Albeit slightly boring music after ten minutes or so. Plenty of rhythm, but a lack of harmony.

Despite the rain and the bleak apocalyptic thoughts, I’m really happy to be here. Right now, I can see a cardinal sitting on a branch outside my open door. There have been squirrels darting through the trees—or maybe one very busy squirrel. I’m surrounded by trees and greenery. It’s definitely not the most peaceful park I’ve spent time in—the train tracks must be incredibly close because wow, the trains are loud when they rumble through—and there must be some kind of construction going on nearby because there was a lot of heavy equipment moving around, including those annoying backup beeps, earlier this morning. But it’s not a parking lot, it’s a park.

I spent the last two weeks sitting in a campground that was a parking lot: trailers on either side of me, nothing separating me from my neighbors, and my view consisting entirely of people stuff. My goal was to finish Grace or give up. I did neither. I didn’t get very far, but I did come up with a new ending and a new plan, so I’ll be persisting. But I did learn that I should really, really not sit still for so long in a place that doesn’t inspire me.

While I don’t seem to get a lot of writing done on the days that I’m moving from place to place and planning moves takes energy that I could be putting into writing, my level of depression rose steadily over the past couple weeks. Or my mood sank steadily? And the trap that is depression was sucking me in: I knew I was starting to feel bleak but I lacked the energy and motivation to make a change. It’s really only today — gloomy apocalyptic thoughts and all — that I’ve been able to wake up and realize how much I had lost my joy. That’s because having a cardinal sitting on a branch avoiding the rain brings it back. I don’t want to live in places where I have to search to find the beauty, even if they are cheap.

Of course, that does mean that I should earn some money and that means that I should be writing Grace right now. So off to do it! It’d be nice if I could get out of the scene I’m in and back to a scene with Grace and Noah together. Not that I know what happens in that next scene, but I’m a lot more likely to find out if I keep writing than if I wait for inspiration to hit.