I’m up at my parents house this week, up in the mountains where everything is greener, cooler, and more alive. There’s life all around here, not constrained, not really even entirely purposeful. It’s forest life, with the constant sound of flickers, and chickadees, jays and ravens. I was sitting outside yesterday afternoon reading some essays on history and theology when a whole crowd of stellers jays landed in the tree above me. They bounced among the branches and chattered.

I looked up and knew what they wanted. Jays are fairly good about letting you know their desires, and what they desire most is peanuts. Apparently they still remembered me. I used to feed them peanuts when I lived up here a couple of years ago. It was encouraging. But I didn’t have any peanuts to give them. I threw out some crumbled bits of a banana nut muffin that was a little to banana for my tastes. They didn’t really respond to that. Threw out some wild bird seed. That seemed to appease them a bit.

It was nice being remembered up here. The jays are smart enough and live long enough for this to make sense. The other birds and wee beasts don’t seem to remember. The ravens may, but they don’t really ever care about any one, because we can’t fly so are not really social equals.

While throwing out that seed I started thinking about my boxes of books in the upstairs closet. My books are many, and my present apartment is small. Even if it was larger, I don’t have enough bookshelves, so probably half my books are stored away. Some of them I need, or at least want, more close to me, so after helping the jays out I went inside, upstairs and began pulling out tubs and boxes. After a few minutes I realized that books in my “go home” pile weren’t actually necessary, but were more like friends I wanted nearby. I moved a good many back into the stay in storage piles, adding a bit of discipline to my day. Some, like my complete Hitchhikers Guide volume, convinced me it was indeed necessary and clamored back to the other stack. I’m not entirely sure why it is necessary but it is. Treasured books by Yoshikawa and Endo were not as convincing, making me feel a little shallow in my interests–an odd feeling considering the nature of most of the books allowed in the apartment library.

My goal was to find a couple of books that came to mind the last few weeks. One is a book on Baptism in the Spirit that covers the New Testament and early church eras. I found that one. The other is the now almost iconic Gospel in a Pluralist Society by Lesslie Newbigin. I didn’t find this one. My review is the first one listed on the Amazon page, but I have no idea where my copy might be. I fear it might be in one of the boxes in the closet that had a bit of a mouse problem for a while. I don’t like looking in those boxes, both because it makes me sad to see chewed up books and because I don’t want to encounter any mice–though I think the latter are gone they have left monuments and testimonies to their residence. I also looked in their before I moved to Pasadena, and think that had I seen Newbigin I would have taken it with me. So, I consider buying another copy. Only by ‘to buy’ list is already several yards long, and I can’t quite yet justify bumping Newbiggin to the top of that queue.

As I pressed on in my book boxes I found one that had about five books on writing. I miss writing. I mean I write a lot these days but it’s not really the sort of writing that makes me feel like I’ve added a creative component during my day. I miss the creative explorations and crafting of words as I try to begin a story. Most of the books in that box were not particularly useful, but a few were, and of these I put Self-Editing for Fiction writers into my go home pile. I don’t know entirely why.

Inspiration maybe.

Funny what a few days in the forest does to a person. I don’t think I’m cut out for city life.

My soul surges in the inspiration of nature all around, yesterday in the sun, today looking out to fog rolling in with the stormy wind.

I do miss Amy, though. She’s in Oregon this week. She is an inspiration too.

Someday I want to combine my two inspirations. Some day. Somewhere where we both can enjoy the beauty and peculiar peace of a forest, where we can both write, and sing, and just maybe occasionally dance.

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