Written in the Woods

I moved to the woods for a reason.  I like the illusion of living in a different time, of being self-sufficient, a little apart from the rest of the world.  I heat with a wood stove, I cook with cast iron, and grow, sometimes successfully, my own vegetables.   When the electricity goes out or the well isn’t working, I ponder the obvious questions.   Could I give up electricity, my refrigerator?  Could I live without hot  running water?  Not a chance.  And so I live with the best of both worlds, compromising when I have to, loving the old ways when I can.
I make a concession every time I turn on my little red laptop.  I can’t deny its convenience for writing.  Cut and paste, delete, spell check, synonym check,  prints neatly.  I’ve come to depend on it.  It takes cares of all my carefully thought-out words and  keeps them safely organized.  But my preferred method is a tablet and pen.  I’ll find some lovely spot open to the sky and snatch the bits of inspiration that float my way.   I’ve carried my tablet hiking, camping, and on vacation to the coast.  It’s been to ghost towns and old homesteads.  I’ve filled lines of it on planes and ferries and in rental cars.  When I later transfer my scrawled words to a computer file, I have my original paper as a treasured souvenir.
Luckily for me I have a tiny piece of Montana woods with enough room to run my dogs.   The dogs, the sky, the wildlife that pass through, and the trees themselves have sparked stories that I must write.  There are three benches scattered throughout the trees.   Sometimes rather than walking with the dogs, I’ll pick a bench and jot down fresh ideas while they play.   At some point, about four years ago, I had an idea for a book, and now, after many walks, lots of jotting, lots of research, and hours of letting my imagination have its way, I have a book that’s almost done.    It’s about a woman in the West, of course.  A brave, adventurous, resilient woman.  It’s 1907 and she heads to Idaho from Boston with her little towheaded son, traveling alone after her husband, a doctor, was killed in an accident.  She is the nurse who will be taking over the medical responsibilities at an Indian School on the Nez Perce Reservation.   It’s a new challenge for both of them, new landscapes, new cultures, new opportunities.   As with most stories, there is conflict, love, loss, and sometimes redemption.   Hopefully I’ve made it historically correct for a region noted for vast forests, prosperous mining, steam trains, and everything we love about the West!  I’m calling it The Sparrow’s Choice, and I’ll keep you posted on its progress!!!      Cindy Doll

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11 thoughts on “Written in the Woods

  1. The life you have chosen sounds like the best of all worlds and it seems you have the ability to switch time eras as well.How very blessed you are. Perhaps the stories of the past were carried by the wind, to you – who lives among the trees. Perhaps in sitting on the bench and taking the time to hear, the words have fallen like leaves from where they were tangled among the trees. You caught them and put them on paper.

    I’m looking forward to reading ‘Sparrow’s Choice’.

  2. I love the thread of trees that runs through this posting. Your lyrical way of speaking is balanced by your own no-nonsense practicality. Congratulations on getting it going. Cindy Willis

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