Could this be the last of the lockdown posts?
Will I stop these posts when Pennsylvania moves to the yellow phase of Operation Don’t Die Of Coronavirus?
Reader, I do not know. I cannot see the future. Also, I am bad at planning. Anyway, this post definitely exists. That is something.
Oh! And I have news for you. Several months ago, David and Debs over at Fiction Can Be Fun asked me to write a thing for them. They like to have guest posters whenever there is a fifth Sunday in a month. And, ladies and gentlemen, this Sunday is the fifth Sunday of this month. The stars are, in fact, right, and my post is… alive!
Funnily enough, I begin my guest post by saying that I don’t know how to write about myself–which was true at the time, and is still true, but, I mean, I’ve been kinda-sorta writing about myself every Sunday for two months now, so I’m probably slightly more comfortable with doing that now than I was when I wrote the piece back in March. Anyway, it is on the topic of the intersection of my fiction and my personal life–a topic I found surprisingly tricky at first. Really, I think I worked harder on this piece than I have ever worked on a piece of fiction of equivalent length. You can go and read the post here. I think you’ll like it. I talk about my childhood and how I was a pirate.
The Woods Have Gone Feral On Us
Alec and I have of late been taking our exercise in the woods by our house. Now, these woods are less pristine-nature woods; more I-didn’t-know-there-were-that-many-Natural-Ice-cans-in-existence woods. Still, it is a good place to go, if you are seeking to distance yourself from your fellow man. Which, I mean, yes. We are all doing that. All of us. Which leads me to my next point, which is that, in these odd times, the woods have gone slightly feral on us. Or, rather, people have gone slightly feral in the woods. Or maybe not exactly feral. What I mean is, there is some evidence that people are carving out little unofficial kingdoms for themselves in the woods. Here are some pictures, with comments:
Part I: Fiefdoms of Few
A recent development! I know this for a fact. Because Alec and I explored this very culvert at the beginning of the lockdown, and there was no chair there then. Anyway, if that isn’t a sort of portrait of social distancing as practiced in our local woods, I don’t know what is.
Nothing like picnicking in the middle of a stream. I mentioned this before, but I didn’t include a picture. I think I also forgot to mention that there is a very informal firepit dug into the rocky shore right next to this bench. The firepit has been used for fire at least once. Because, I mean, there is burned and charred wood in it.
Amenities include: one chair in shady situation, one firepit with grill, one bucket, one box, one rake, and one shovel.
Part II: The Increasingly Elaborate Bicycle Obstacle Course
At the very beginning of the lockdown, a local trail got weirdly bumpy. I thought, “animal burrows???? Termites??? Dunno” and then asked no more questions. Here are the bumps:
But then things got clearer. In fact, it ought to have been tolerably clear before. What with the bicycle tracks all over the trail and the fact that kids on bicycles tend to whiz down the track leading to the bumps at speeds that, I must admit, both impress and alarm me, as a simple hiker who would kind of prefer not to get a bicycle to the spine. Anyway, the project has grown into a monstrous and impressive network of bumps, jumps, and ramps over the course of the lockdown. It must be someone’s insane lockdown project. New bits are constantly being added.Here’s the jump:
And here’s a ramp:
And here is the obstacle course supply depot, I assume:
Anyway, all of this gives the woods just a touch of mystery and menace that I feel is more like the woods in fairy tales than the woods I am accustomed to dealing with. Little tiny fiefdoms, carved out of the wilderness, that one sort of stumbles into–not knowing if said territories are perhaps inhabited at the moment, or if said inhabitants will prove friendly. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if someone were to spring in front of me, blocking my path, and demanding tribute should I wish to pass through their lands. Ambush from the trees is also, one feels, distinctly possible. It has just that feeling.
Atherton Signs Off
Well, that’s it for this week, folks! Have you noticed anything weird in your neighborhood? Do you have difficulty in writing about yourself? If you write fiction, does it intersect with your personal life? Are you still in lockdown, wherever you are, or are things opening up a bit?
Stay healthy, stay sane, and say hello in the Comments section!