a fluffy calico cat, with narrowed golden eyes, looking annoyed at being interrupted in her sunbathing
Vivi’s narrow-eyed look. She appreciates the sun, too.

In yoga the other day, the instructor said that we were entering the season of the sun, that the rain was nearly over and we might not see it again for months. That sounded fantastic to me. Go, sun, go! Yay, sunshine! More, more, more!

But when I was walking home from class, reveling in the feeling of warmth on my face, I realized the rain is what makes me appreciate the sun. In Florida, I take the sunshine for granted. Once in a while I notice a particularly nice day, but most nice days blend together. In fact, I’m more likely to be critical of those nice days. Oh, sure, it’s pleasant enough but 78 is a little warm, isn’t it? 56 is positively frigid!

But in Arcata, 56 and sunny is charming and delightful. (So is 46 and sunny, for that matter.) I couldn’t tell you about 78 but I’m pretty sure if it came with sunny, I would find it glorious. And appreciation is — well, “good” seems far too bland, but that’s the word I want to use — appreciation is good. The act of appreciating makes life good. On a cold rainy day, appreciating the flowers brings pleasure into the day that I would have missed if I’d just walked on by those flowers. Hmm, now I want to post some flower pictures.

A pink flower, unknown variety
A random flower pic. One of the houses down the street has a fantastically overgrown garden. Right now, with multiple flowering plants almost obscuring the house and fence, it makes me think of fairy tales and portal stories.

Anyway, all that reminded me that I should appreciate the rain, too. But I’m really happy to have some sunny days. Yesterday, I was still staring at my computer at 7PM or so. I’d not come anywhere close to my Camp NaNo word count, but I also hadn’t even broken 1000 words and I was annoyed with myself. But I looked up and realized that it was a beautiful sunset and a full moon, so instead of continuing to stare at the computer, I took the dogs for a walk and breathed in the fresh air and was thankful for my life.

Ten more days to make real progress on Fen and then I’m going to Idaho. I know already that I can make all the promises in the world to myself about how I will write while I’m on the road and none of them will come true: traveling is simply not conducive to writing fiction for me. I can’t live in my imagination when the real world demands so much attention. But Val Kyr is shaping up to be an interesting place — if creepy — so I’m going to make the most of my time there for now.

A snippet:

Scattered lights didn’t penetrate the dark corners of the streets and the smoke hanging heavy in the air felt oppressive, but something about the city felt unreal, like a dream landscape. It wasn’t until they were walking alongside a canal and passed an empty flat boat gliding along the water that Fen realized it was the silence. There were no motors, of course — no cars, no trains, no trucks beeping as they backed up or electric hums from power lines — but there was also no music, none of the bells or splashing water or friendly cacophony of Syl Var. 

“Is it always like this?” Luke asked Kaio, his tone muted as if he were reluctant to break the hush. 

“Not always, no,” Kaio answered but he didn’t elucidate. 

Fen wished he would. Maybe this was the Val Kyr equivalent of a Sunday morning? Even downtown Chicago felt oddly empty when the 9-5 workers had gone home. Or maybe Val Kyr, unlike Syl Var, lived on the same type of circadian time as human beings and it really was the middle of the night. Maybe in a few hours, the city would wake up — there’d be pastries baking and chickens crowing and the Val Kyrian equivalent of a newspaper delivery boy tossing the daily paper on people’s doorsteps. 

The thought was encouraging, even though Fen was pretty sure Val Kyr wasn’t going to have any equivalent of a newspaper delivery boy. If they needed to distribute the news, they’d probably have little birds flying around warbling their messages. 

Rough draft, of course; not edited; going to change before the final version. Maybe even going to change in the next twenty minutes — those last couple paragraphs are rough. But that’s where I’m living today!