The Winter of My Brain

Out of hibernation we emerge!

The clocks have sprung forward, the spring equinox has passed, the groundhog failed to see his shadow last month and so predicted an early new season.

Boy, am I glad to hear it, as here at our home on the top of a small mountain, we had a direct lightning strike, which blew out our electrical system and fried the flat screen television, my office printer, the internet connection, cable modems, the landline phone, as well as the complicated computer circuitry for the house burglar and fire alarms. Everything had to be replaced and reconnected and it has taken nearly four weeks to put it all back to rights.

A good friend of mine (who is into such astrological things) tells me that March has been a shadowy and intense month of emotion and frustration for many, due to both lunar and solar eclipses. Yet, their occurrences usher in “new celestial chapters for everyone” in the weeks following their temporary blockage of our earth from either sun or moon. Following this transition comes a window through which we can experience the birth of something new from deep within ourselves.

In remarkable correspondence (or coincidence, depending upon your outlook), Good Friday and Easter, those revered events of redemption and renewal, fall within the astrologer’s lunar-solar time frame, occurring this very week. April is just eight days away–bringing with it the playful humor of its Fool’s Day. Passover comes a little while later, a holiday that represents to so many people all over the world both regeneration and freedom. All these are magical occasions indeed! Whether your rituals and beliefs are Christian, Jewish, astrological or just plain pagan, you can now throw off that heavy coat March put upon your back.

Last weekend, Brad and I saw the movie Race, a film that I can praise to the skies, about the life of the track and field star Jesse Owens, an incredible black athlete who–in a time of extreme racism–attended the 1936 Olympic games in Munich and won four gold medals. Though his competitors greeted him with warmth, even those from Germany, the movie depicts him being spurned and insulted by Hitler himself, to no viewer’s surprise.

In the face of the Nazi’s evil insistence on absolute racial purity, Owens’ bravery and determination to maintain his individuality–characteristics that would have destroyed him had he been a citizen of the Reich–bring me inspiration as I sit here struggling to keep the voice of my novel loud, clear and authentic in my mind.

Writing is not always easy, as dry spells sometimes occur for every author. I remind myself that Jesse Owens probably had his lousy days, too. And so I remember this man’s “marathon” spirit and try to welcome each day as the world greens up around me–to dig deep for the confidence that when the time is right, the winter of my brain will recede and my novel’s voice bloom once again. Forty years at my desk tells me this will be so.

In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy wrote: “Spring is the time of plans and projects.” Seems to me that the season also brings poetry, love and hope. To take a breather from the written word, Brad and I will welcome the wind in our hair for the first day of the sailing season this weekend, and Cody, Mac and I will make the rounds of an upcoming four-day show circuit. Sometimes we all need a break-even the dogs.

Here in Northern California, the daffodils have already heralded the new season. A few tulips, (planted by those intrepid enough to experiment with them in this climate in which they are not indigenous), open their red, purple and pink cups to the sun. The cherry, magnolia and plum trees I planted as fragile saplings twenty years ago, shower the sidewalk and yard with a flurry of white petals. And, at last, we have had two weeks of steady warm rain–which is actually more welcome here in this drought-riddled state than the sunshine craved by the rest of the country. But today it is 70 degrees and balmy beneath that yellow face overhead, and I am writing my newsletter to you from outside on the deck. How very lucky I am, after all.

And for those of you still looking at banks of snow, take heart in the crocuses certain to be pushing up beside your back door despite the weather, as well as in the ice now surely melting into puddles on your driveway. For those living in Michigan and Maine, persevering for the remainder of March will demand a fair dose of patience–but it will be your turn soon.

As F. Scott Fitzgerald noted:” And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on trees . . . I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again.”

Wishing all of you a joyous start to spring, one in which you will surely flourish and prosper.



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