A Stone's Throw

practice your aim. you never know when you'll spy 2 birds at once.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Cloud Forest

Saba - Netherlands Antilles

At the base of the mountain lies a stone path, carved from the very mountain by ancient hands. As you climb the twisting, turning path, you enter the rain forest. Mahogany trees bend and sway overhead, moss draped across them like delicate green shawls. Flowering bromeliads spring up from the ground and the crooks of trees. Leaves of the elephant ear roll in the breeze, seeming large and stout enough, I expected to see a small child curled up on one, napping.

Then quite suddenly, through the ferns, palms, and vines, you reach the Cloud Forest. Cloaked in the mists of passing clouds, the vegetation grows even deeper and lusher, with intoxicating orchids, beds of colorful lichens, and countless fruit trees. It holds a peace and gentle quiet, giving way to the creatures that call it home, harmless red-bellied racer snakes, spotted anoles, tiny tree frogs, and gorgeous zebra butterflies.

It feels like you have stepped past the threshold of another world. When the wind presses through it is as if the forest is breathing, whispering its story, if you only had the right ears to hear the words. There is a calm that exists there, like a long slow sigh of contentment. And if you relax and take a moment, you feel it too.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


February 6, 2007 - Saba

In the imagination there exists archetypal exotic locals: windswept desertscapes, sweeping forests, endless glaciers. Among the many places the mind's eye creates is one of a lush volcanic island, complete with a rain forest, rolling mists, eighty-three degrees days, and brilliant blue waters. It is the reason people seek out Hawaii or Bermuda or the Virgin Islands.

For those same reasons, I came to Saba. An island to the west of St. Maartin, in the Netherlands Antilles, Saba is nearly perfect in its climate and tranquility. Red roofed houses with white-washed walls dot the hill sides in villages with names like The Bottom, Upper Hell's Gate, and Saint John. Waist-high stone walls line the narrow streets. Trees hang low enough to pick your own bananas, breadfruit, oranges, and ugli fruit.
I stay in Windwardside, a community of perhaps three hundred, nestled beneath Mt. Scenery, the volcanic peak wreathed in clouds. If parts of the island look familiar, it's because it has been used in films a few times, notably as part of the lush mountains in Jurassic Park and in the original King Kong, when they see Skull Island for the first time - a mysterious island cloaked by mist and clouds.
It's 80-something here. I'm not entirely sure since I haven't seen a thermometer since I got here. But it's nearly perfect with life-enriching sun, a gentle breeze, and a breath-taking view at every turn.
A great black bumblebee has landed on an enormous flower near me. It knows to enjoy life day by day. It chose a great place to do it.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Somewhere Over America

February 1, 2007 - Connecticut

Hello All,

It's been a while since I was blogging consistently, but I needed a break to concentrate on other things. So, sorry about the layoff, but I'm back.

As part of my year-long project, I had to begin a new book on January 1st. At first the writing was arduous, then it turned to painful, after that it became like an addiction. If you're addicted to smokes, sweets, lovely caffeine, gambling, or QVC, then you know what its like. You simply just do it and think about it after.

The words came in little dribbles and great downpours, but they came. The end of January loomed near and it became a race to the finish. I pressed on with just the right combination of stubbornness and inspiration.

It came down to day 30, sitting on a plane at 17,000 feet, scrawling frantically in a notebook in dim lighting. But I was able to ink 'fin' before the plane touched down. Clocking in at just over 200 pages is 'The King Of York', a riotous tale involving the United Nations, Wall Street, the ancient Black Pharaohs of Nubia, a string of murders, and a mystery as old as the humanity itself.

So, with a smile, I welcome 'The King Of York' to the world. 2007 shall be a good year.

- c