I write a weekly newspaper column about my community, and that means I have to keep my eyes open. I don’t like writing the same old stories that are written every few months, so I have to be even more alert, and I have to be ready to go when the story shows itself to me. The hardest part for me is locating my camera and car keys. Most stories don’t wait for absent-minded writers to make three or four trips from room to room on a scavenger hunt for glasses, pen and paper, keys, and camera.
Looking across Horseshoe Lake one day, I noticed activity in the water. I grabbed the binoculars and spotted divers. That became the story that appears in today’s paper: http://www.tdn.com/articles/2007/10/31/southcountynews/news05.txt
A few days ago, I saw hundreds of Canadian Geese in a field north of town, next to I-5. I could have missed a good story that day because even though I had my car keys (hey, I was driving!) I didn’t have my camera. Big mistake for a writer! I dashed home, grabbed my camera, and drove out the dirt road that parallels the freeway, where I photographed the geese and took notes. I was lucky that day, but I’ll lose some good stories if I’m not prepared in the future.
This morning presented the perfect picture of Halloween, with orange leaves stacking up at the edges of the patio and walkways. Fallen leaves rested on the tops of autumn-red Barberry bushes, waiting for the strong November winds to fly them to new homes. Crisp leaves, safe for now, had funneled down through the sharp green swords of dwarf Pampas Grass, near the plant’s thick base.
The surface of the small lake I see from my desk through the top of the Pampas Grass is covered today with a misty Halloween fog. As a dozen low-swimming Cormorants, their necks sticking out of the water, swam in font of me, I reached for my camera to capture the eerie scene of black-hooded creatures swimming through the fog. I focused the camera. Twelve Cormorants became three, then six, then four, then eight. They bobbed, dipped, surfaced, and submerged again, staying underwater sometimes for more than a minute, acting out their own version of bobbing for apples. Snapping the shutter, I thought they just might bob into my next column. Happy Halloween.