Am back from Kindling Words in (as of this year) Vermont. Which is one of the hardest conferences to report back on–the short version would be, “I talked to lots of colleagues and got re-energized in lots of ways,” but that’s really what KW is about.

Found a playground in a field of untouched snow, which became my fill-in for Lake George, which KW wasn’t on the shores of for the first time this year. It’s been a warm winter there, though–that snow was melting by the end of last weekend. Still, got the chance to swing some very satisfying swoopy tracks into the snow.

Also visited family in upstate New York–my sister is about two weeks from giving birth to her first child (and my first niece or nephew–well, nephew in this case).

A random moment from the drive back up to the Burlington airport. Driving a winding road through some Adirondack forest; turning a bend and finding Lake Champlain spread out below. The CD in the player shifts to a mellow song by local singer Kevin Pakulis about living in the shadow of the desert Rincons. I descend toward the lake, through the forest, while the CD plays on about a very different landscape. The contrast between the two is … energizing and evocative. I’m reminded of the time lnhammer and I read Patricia McKillip’s The Changeling Sea as we drove through the desert together.

Halfway through the song I stop the player to take a ferry across the lake–a small ferry, with room for maybe a couple dozen cars, leaving from a whistle stop of a ferry station, peeling paint on a small bunkhouse–charming and quite different from the large commuter ferries I’ve taken in the past. I stand right out at the edge of the deck, only a rope between me and the water, bundled into coat and gloves and hat and scarf, chilly wind blowing into my face–something I find glorious, not bleak at all.

On the far shore I drive on, turning on the CD as I do. The last chorus of a song that captures the desert perfectly plays on as I drive away from the lake, towards the airport, towards home.

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