Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bear Scare

It is an "Ahhhh" day in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Carolina Blue sky, with wisps of white, like cosmic cotton balls pulled apart and strewn willy nilly ito the air. I was at my desk at eight a.m., getting antsy. My spirit told me to go up the Blue Ridge Parkway. I grabbed a coffee at Starbuck's (it was the only place open, I'm sorry) and a chicken biscuit at Bojangles (no apologies) and headed east. There were few others on that scenic drive, the Leafers still lolling in their lodgings in Asheville, or not having arrived yet in the area. The foliage was at peak color for the first few miles. I was disappointed when I first experienced fall in the western Carolina mountains, the colors being less dramatic than I had been used to growing up in the Northeast. Over the years I have come to appreciate the more subtle palette of the region, the soft pinks and muted yellows, interspersed with dashs of bright orange and red. The colors faded as I gained altitude. The drive was still spectacular, vista after vista appearing around the curves in the road. There was none of the haze which has become more or less a permanent characteristic of the air in the southeast.

I hiked to the top of the ridge above the Craggy Garden picnic area, somewhat disconcerted by the sign reading, "AREA CLOSED-DANGEROUS BEAR ACTIVITY." However, it was posted near the ridge top, facing away from me, meant to be seen by hikers coming up from the other side. It made no sense, since there had been no such caution at the picnic area itself, which would be the place most attractive to those black marauders. Nonetheless, I did cut my hike short by about ten minutes, in the possibility I had missed something below, since I was the only car in the parking area-- others may have gotten the message somehow. Back at the picnic area parking lot, there were now several cars. I ask a man if he had seen any other such warnings. He had not. I have decided it is an artifact from earlier in the year, other postings have been removed, and they didn't get to this one.

My spirit renewed, I returned to my table and have spent the next three hours finding things to do other than work on the novel. I am twenty-five pages or so from finishing my run through making changes suggested by Andy. There will be some additional work to set up the main villain better, flesh out a subplot and make our protaganists wife a richer character. My goal was to have it done by the end of the month and if I quit doing THIS and focus on THAT, I may make it.