Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blue Jays, Canoes, and a Squirrel

I spent the last couple days camping deep in the middle of bear country. It’s always refreshing to get away, especially when away means no cell phone service. I was able to leave the world we live in and escape into a place where the loudest sound was river water over stones and the brightest lights at night were the stars.

This trip also provided great writing research in a few ways. First, I went canoeing. The last time I rode in a canoe was during the great river adventure that inspired me to write—over twenty years ago. I was on a lake this time, so the feeling was different than the rushing chaos of a river run, but I loved how the memories came flooding back. I was surprised at how cold the water was. I had forgotten. Thinking back to that great adventure, it’s more incredible to me that everything turned out okay then. There are pieces from that adventure that have made it into my series. Watch for some great river adventures in book three!

Second, I came face to face with a beautiful doe near our camp. She was huge, standing as tall as me. We stared at each other and then she strolled into the trees, having determined that I wasn’t a threat. Her face was so calm, so accepting of my presence. It’s rare to have a moment like that in the wild, so I’ll always remember it. There’s a scene in FROM RISING FLAMES with a doe. I may tweak it a bit based on this experience.

I love the tranquility of the night forest. I wandered through the tree, sans flashlight, listening and observing everything. Every shadow, every whisper of wind, and every rustle in the bushes was enlightening. High above, the stars glowed bright and clear, touching the treetops with their truth of how large the universe is. In the middle of the night, a raccoon found our garbage bag. After a couple tries, it tore a hole in the bag, spilling a few paper plates and aluminum cans to the ground. It played with one can in the dirt for a while and then scuttled down the riverbank.

Thankfully, no bears found our camp, but there were plenty of squirrels and Blue Jays to keep us company. Magnificent streaks of blue glided silently from tree to tree while angry little squirrels screamed their annoyance at our disruption to their day. One big fat, furry squirrel decided that the crumbs from our spilt garbage bag (raccoon’s evil doing) were a tasty snack. He slinked and crawled close to me before quickly discovering that I’m a sneaky trapper as well. J Had he not been the world’s biggest squirrel, he wouldn’t have escaped, though!

So that’s my travelogue and a glimpse into the wondering impulses inside of me. I love the outdoors and enjoy incorporating my little adventures into fantasy books. Enjoy your week and happy reading.

~ Jamie


  1. I'm not much for doing things that require me being away from immediate sources of electricity and a working toilet that I didn't have to dig, but your descriptive imagery of your trip makes camping and canoeing sound so appealing.

  2. Quite the adventure. The outdoors does things to my writing, for sure. :)

  3. I'm one of the happily unconnected, and I love it.

    I love the wild as well, but I think the last time I actually went camping was about 20 years ago. Eek. About time.



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