I’ve been swimming here, almost every day. We go for a long walk on the estate, up through the gum trees, through the hills of pine that will be felled to fill the burners to dry the tea, and over the river until we find a calm pool. Yesterday, we walked for more than an hour, eventually making our own path down to the river. One footstep at a time, we wiggled across a large tree — a natural bridge that reminded me of that scene in Dirty Dancing — until we reached the center of the river where the tree arched upward and we were left to swing our legs below to find tips of rocks to make our way across. By the time we got to the other side, my heart was pounding and my arms were tired from hauling myself (and the weenie dog Chappie) up and over the logs and rocks.
But the water, oh — the water. It is crystal clear and ice cold. It rushes past peacefully in the pools and is such a relief after a long, hot sweaty hike. It is just such a peaceful new routine. This morning I hope to add yoga to the mix when we return. A bit of stretching on the lawn will keep the gardener entertained, and we’ll more than likely have an audience of vervet monkeys too.
When I’m not napping or swimming or day dreaming, I’ve been writing. I’m working on my second novel and slowly, it is plodding forward. There was so much to learn from publishing the first novel. My writing is stronger and my characters are more defined. I’m being more thoughtful of the plot and how I want the story to develop. Like “Under the Same Moon,” I have a beginning and an ending. The trick is not to let too many side characters take over the show in the middle. Focusing on developing three characters and making sure each page I’ve written somehow advances their stories is my mission.
After about three hours of this, I fall over dead tired. My body is on vacation. My brain is at boot camp.
I recognize how very fortunate I am to have the chance to take nearly a month off to write, much less doing so in such a lovely environment. This is a charmed life!