Magic of the Everyday, Nature, Rejection, Writing

Beautiful Things

The past few days have brought beautiful creatures into my view. Not just the usual suspects, either. (Deer, check. Hawks, check. Numerous waterfowl, check and check. Muskrats, check…)

Day One I found the snakes alongside the bridle path where I love to walk. First one, dozing in the sun, then another, larger one that slithered off noisily as we came tromping alongside it. It had a very sunny patch, and the day had warmed considerably by then, so it was almost feisty in its retreat. Both were beautifully striped along their sides, indicating common gardner or garter snakes. Later that same walk came the intense red-orange body of an oriole in flight! I listened for the mellifluous song, but was disappointed by the chirping of sparrows and the hum of the highway instead.

The next day brought a real surprise: a red fox on the hillside below my apartment and above the river. The dog sniffed it out, pulling on her leash with raised hackles. All I saw was the scrubby hillside, vine-shrouded and dim. Then a rustle and whoop!–there leapt a shape, with a plume of a tail arcing behind with such grace. Sunlight slanted on it, amber flashing through the gloom like neon–and then it was gone. Like a vision of magic, the fox was there and then gone, so that I wondered what I’d really seen.

Amazingly, the wonder of the day didn’t cease there. Afterwards, we watched a two-foot long northern water snake slither around the boats at the marina. I just wished it was big enough to eat one of the nasty Canada geese that honk and poop all over the place there! No luck there, either. (But it does explain why I’ve been seeing fewer rabbits about.)

And finally, the third day brought me back to the bridle path. At the end of our walk, a loud–and I do mean LOUD–drumming made me look up. Not just any old woodpecker, mind you, but a pileated woodpecker. The first time I’d seen one in real life! It was clearing out an old nesting hole. Was it looking for bugs, or prepping for nesting? I’m not sure, but I was happy to see it there, while other walkers ignored it and walked right by.

It was as if Mother Nature was fortifying me against the whims of mankind. You see, these same three days brought three separate rejections, one each day. Each was a personal response, very kind and encouraging. One even encouraged me to submit to their publication again (of course I will!).

Sigh. But three rejections in three days. Ouch!

Remember when I said I hate waiting? Well, I still do, but now I’m wondering if waiting isn’t better than rejection, ’cause you still have hope. And remember in the last post what I said about Trust raising its pretty little head, only to get squashed? Yup, that’s here, too. And finally, how about the bit about Pure Cussedness and Determination getting me through it all, keeping me writing and submitting? Well, that’s where I’m at now. Still writing, re-subbing those pieces and hanging tough.

I just hope I don’t see any more amazing animals for awhile…

4 thoughts on “Beautiful Things”

  1. Snake creeps the hell out of me. Growing up in the Philippines, snakes were in most cases poisonous so I only have to be told there is snake and I am in panic. 😉

    1. Eww! Yeah, that might change my opinion of them. Fortunately for me, there are no poisonous water snakes and only one poisonous terrestrial snake (and it doesn’t live here or look remotely like those pictured here) native to Ohio. So, my admiration for them is un-marred by fear of death :-). I tend to like those odd creatures most people don’t–snakes, bats, mice–because I love how beautifully different they are from humans. Which, I guess, just makes me odd. But I’m OK with that!

  2. We have those garter snakes around here, too. Like you, I like a lot of the animals that scare people, partly because I’ve grown up in a safe area (nothing poisonous here except hobo spiders, which aren’t exactly common) and I also am fascinated by different kinds of animals. Garter snakes give birth to live young, but their young are independent the moment they are born, which is fascinating to me! And I am jealous because I saw a red fox and a pileated woodpecker both before I was ten, and never again since.

    I’m also, in a strange way, jealous of your rejections–because you have work out making the rounds, and I don’t have anything on submission. I’ve been so busy with art and reading that I haven’t really been writing. Eep! Don’t forget how useful and professional it is that you just have stories out there waiting to be purchased instead of sitting in a drawer waiting for edits.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. Every now and then the doubts crowd in, and it’s nice to know others still think you’re okay. Strange, but a writer nonetheless, and okay.

      If you’re fascinated by strange animals, read up on opposum sometime (especially their breeding habits). Everyone thinks they are dumb and repulsive, but having lived close to some for a few years, I’ve gained some respect for them. (They also have amazing teeth.)

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