nothing in particular — just reaching out

I haven’t written for awhile. Lots of reasons, but mostly that it’s summer and I’m trying to devote my writing energy to my books.

I don’t know if it is the same for everyone. But, for me, the echoes of a schoolkid’s schedule still inform my work habits — at least on a seasonal basis. Summer simply is a hard time for me to work. When autumn comes I gear up; by winter I’m in full work mode; and when the grass begins to reemerge from beneath the snows, my thoughts start to move outward away from the task at hand.

I fight against this. But it is like fighting against sleep or a sneeze: eventually, nature wins out.

So now, it is full summer. We have paid the price of winter snows, ice, and thirty below temperatures to get to this moment when our life on the edge of a northern lake becomes a joy that seems too rich to drink in to its fullest. Truly, it is glasses of wine on the screen porch until ten in the evening when the last warm edge of daylight gives itself over to the chorus of loon calls and the star-filled night. We are reminded now of why we live here, and we don’t want to squander a second of it.

This, for me, is a good time to write only if I get up before daybreak and get myself in the chair with a cup of coffee before the sunlit colors begin to flood the day. The half light of dawn, and the growing chorus of birdsong seem to serve as inspiration. But if I miss this by reading newspapers or allowing the cares of the day to rush in, I’ve lost the moment. When I’ve lost the moment, I’ve lost the day.

I do have a few things to write about — some real movement of the long-awaited film of Neither Wolf nor Dog and some thoughts on affairs of the world. But they will come forth slowly. For now, it is coffee on the porch and an indolent day in the sun.

Stay tuned. I will return, and hopefully with more frequency. I hope you all are doing well.

7 comments

  1. Pam says:

    No profound thoughts from me, just wanted to say that it was good to “hear” from you again. We’ve never met, but reading your blog entries feels like hearing from an old friend. Thanks for writing.

  2. Karen says:

    Summer is such an interesting time in this corner of the world… There are so many memories whispered in the gentle breezes, so many feelings that yawn and stretch themselves each morning. Winter in Minnesota is often an oppressive, dark time and it is a welcome change when spring and summer emerge once again like an old friend returned from an extended adventure, far away…
    There are times when I wish I were able to revert to those old school day tendencies – where I didnt have to get up at the crack of dawn to prepare for the coming day, where I could take my time to sit back and watch the world go by. I agree that it is a lot harder to work or think when the summer laziness is bearing down on our winter worn souls…
    I read something once that went “You’re given each day as a gift from God, what you choose to do with that gift is up to you but know that each one is unique, though seemingly similar. You can use your gift to worry about the next one, or if there’ll be a next one, or you can take the gift you’ve been given and make the most of it knowing there will never be another like it.” I figure if we can take just one of those ‘gifts’ and slow things down like when we were kids it helps to get through the ones we have to use being here and now.
    Its nice to stop in here and see something new. I completely understand the need to fight against human nature and conditioning when summer rolls around – I know how tough it can be to sit and work when you can look out the window and see moments passing by that you can never regain…
    Take your time, we’re going to be here – fighting the same fight, not wanting the summer to pass as fast as it always seems to, boxing up new memories when the leaves start to change again and the summer packs up for another adventure… Its always refreshing to see something new from you here.

  3. Sandi says:

    Ditto to what Karen and Pam had to say about the pleasure of coming here and seeing something new from our old friend, Kent.

    However, I’m afraid that I’m sitting here a bit green with envy as summer in New Orleans is a very different experience. I love your description of your porch time filled with the chorus of loon calls and starry nights. However, I can surely appreciate your having paid the price of “winter snows, ice, and thirty below temperatures”! Now is our “paying the price” time with the heat, humidity and fears of an active hurricane season. We can hardly wait until October! In the meantime we are grateful to have air conditioning, good books and blogs to read such as yours.

    Have another sip of wine for us while you take in all the beauties of nature. Even though it has been about 35 years since we lived in the north, we still remember those times, both beautiful and difficult.

  4. martha says:

    I can’t finish reading Neither Wolf nor Dog because then it will be over. I’ve put off reading any more of it now for months.

    Beats me.

    I too savor the pre-noise hours before the sun comes up with just the birds singing. It’s not as cold here in Montana as when I was a kid. Global warming I guess. Hardly any snow. Summer is for gardening.

  5. Kim says:

    I just finished Neither Wolf Nor Dog for the second time. I wanted to reread it after spending time this summer at Pine Ridge.

    I was so ashamed and so angry this time around. I had the opportunity to visit Wounded Knee, and the chapter in the book reminded me of my own feelings while there. It is a place haunted yet peaceful. I hardly dared to walk on the ground. I was struck the beautiful flowers on the graves. I also saw lots of “things” left for those buried there–cans of Pepsi, baby bottles–things the spirit needs on its journey.

    A thought came to me the other day. Everywhere I went on Pine Ridge I was greeted warmly and felt no sense of “ooh there’s a white person.” As I stopped at my little convenience store here in the suburbs, I wondered what would happen if an Indian walked into that store. I doubt he or she would feel as welcome as I felt on Pine Ridge.

    I thought I would go there a make a difference. Perhaps I did, just a litte, but the difference is in me. I came away a different person.

    Summer is supposed to be lazy, and I’m a teacher, so it’s really supposed to be lazy (at least that’s what most people think). I too enjoy the sunrise and sunset on my deck. I’m learning to listen to the world with new ears and quit talking so much. That is very difficult.

    I know, Mr. Nerburn, that you will insist the movie version of Neither Wolf Nor Dog will be true to Dan. While on Pine Ridge I met a man who played a roll in Thunderheart. He was a dancer in the Powwow scene. He said more than once he and others do not like Graham Greene. He won’t play Dan or Grover, will he? He’s not even Lakota.

    I want to scream at all of the injustices that have been heaped upon the Indian people. I feel like my voice will never be heard. So, I guess I’ll continue to do what I did this summer. I’ll go back to Pine Ridge and do a little painting and a little mowing and a little trash pickup and learn more about myself. I guess if a book like Neither Wolf Nor Dog can’t change things, I can’t either.

  6. I’m attracted to painting imagery with words and the emotions and memories that act creates. I do miss the pictures though…like the pines framing the sun on the horizon. Thank you for the mind shaping magic.

  7. joyce says:

    the latest Book. Wow.. Thank For Giving me A Glimpse At What, Everyone Should ReAD.. Its’ Moving. I Enjoy The Books You Write Simply be cause They tell What FEW eLSE wILL WRITE.. tHANKS.. Blessiongs On Your next Jouney Joyce

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