In between Thanksgiving and Christmas, or NaNoWriMo and the official start of the winter hiking season, there exists a lull. A space. And as we all know, space just begs to be filled.
The space between writing a novel and whatever might happen next with that novel is a pregnant space. It is full of potential, expanding with hope. There is the high of triumph and the sheer exhaustion of labor, and the rosy glow emanated by the beloved story. And there is the resounding silence of the end. No longer in it, it no longer carries me. I miss spending days with my characters, imagining the interactions, dreaming up the resolutions. I was a voyeur in their lives and now that’s over and I’m back, fully, in my own. My vacation in a nine-year-old’s head in 1974 is over. I’m glad to be home (and holy crap does this place need cleaning) but it’s also a little anticlimactic feeling too.
Add to the mix the possibility that RedCloud, my foster dogson, may well be on his way to his forever home this weekend, and I’m feeling rather thoroughly “between.” Again with the pregnancy analogies, but I can’t help but feel expectant: my hope is all about launching him into a good life. I guess there’s a healthy dollop of dating analogy there too: I fervently hope that the chemistry is immediately and powerful between Red and his new owners – that it is so obvious there will be no weighing of pros and cons, no worries, no regrets. Love at first sight.
And then there’s hiking. The line in the sand: the year’s list. Tom and I plan to complete our winter 35 this winter, which means we’ll be out crawling around on 25 peaks (yup, we’ve only got 10 so far) between 12/21 and 3/21. Might not sound like much, but that’s a fair number of mountains in only a few months worth of weekends. Not exactly Nano-Hike-Mo but it will still be a blast of intensity, working a list to bag peaks hand over fist. Tom and I haven’t been in that sort of hiking mode since completing our first round of the Catskill 35 in 2008. The focus and passion is exhilarating, and a tad obnoxious to those who don’t get it.
But that doesn’t start for another few weeks. And so the space between lies there, fertile and potent, alluring and infuriating. I want to be there now, and I know all about being here now.
In the meantime, while I wait for winter and catch my breath from chasing RedCloud, drop me a line if you’d like to read the Nano story. It doesn’t have a name. Many of you Facebookers contributed, helping with immensely with plot ideas and 1970s flotsam and jetsam. I’d be happy to email you the file, and I’d love some real feedback. After Red leaves with his forever family, I’ll need something to keep me busy. Until 12/21 anyway…