Monday, August 29, 2011

WIldlife Summer

I've gotten quite a few miles in this summer on my bike. Thank goodness. One of my favorite things about that--besides simply being on the bike--is being so in touch with the wildlife around me, as well as the evolving season.

This summer, the wildlife highlight was seeing the red-tailed hawk snatch a bullsnake out of the ditch and perch on a telephone pole, feasting while the feast's tail dangled a good two feet down the pole.

There was the salamander migration day, when suddenly salamanders were traveling across county roads, away from swampy wetlands, toward grain fields. If anybody can explain that behavior to me, please do. Going to feast on bugs, maybe? And a teenage girl was on Co.Rd. 9 on a four-wheeler, scooping up the little guys and helping them across the road so they wouldn't get smushed!

Grasshopper day this past week. The roads and ditches were bouncing, alive. One kamikaze hopper zinged into my spokes and then thudded to the pavement. Sigh.

Frogs of all types, including tree frogs. Wetland frogs singing as I pass. I had a tree frog in my shower last week. I captured him and ran outside (soaking, dripping, naked) to free him in the backyard is entirely secluded, now that the corn is six feet tall. Have no fear.

Owls. Not on my bike, but at home. They hoot every night. And there was the early morning when Freya had a back-and-forth conversation with one for about fifteen minutes. Owl hooted. Freya barked. Back and forth and back and forth. Hilarious.

Coyotes. Sometimes too close for comfort, and Freya thinks she needs to be outside barking then, too. That worries me, so I bring her in. I've seen a couple coyotes on my bike this year, too.

The corn, the beans, a bit of oats. I love watching the crops mature, from dodging tractors and giant planters in the spring, to watching baby spring green spouts pop through black soil, to growing knee-high, to now, when beans are lush and full, and corn tassles are turning and corn silk is browning. The world is a rich place.

Sometimes now, when I steal a ride down the county roads, it breaks my heart that it will all brown and waiting for snow in a matter of long weeks. Can't dwell on that. Think about now. Soak up every second. Ride, ride, ride, whenever I can.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Davenport B&N Tomorrow, and Girl Meets Boy Anthology, January 2012

We got the cover! This week, Kelly Milner Halls sent the cover to all of us whose stories are in this anthology. Pretty cute, huh? It contains some pretty heavy subject matter, I'll tell you that much. The cover may somewhat imply the weight of the stories within...

I'm honored to be in the company of the authors in this book. I'm excited that it's actually in the works and will be in bookstores in January. My story is called "Mars at Night," and the main character is an Iowa farm girl. Go figure. The catch, however, is that she's in love with the only Muslim in her high school. And her beloved pig farm is in danger...

Closer to home, and closer to the moment, TOMORROW, I'm signing Chasing AllieCat in Davenport, Iowa, at the big Barnes and Noble