Cedar or Sequoia?

As I watch the hail turn to sleet and whiten the ground outside my cozy home, I am thinking about the tree that we are going to cut down. It has been attacked by bark beetles, a common occurrence since the western US has suffered severe drought during the last few years. This fact does not change how I feel about turning the beautiful Ponderosa Pine tree a few meters outside my bedroom into a stump.2016-01-31 15.43.50_resized

I am not exactly what you would call a “tree hugger,” but I do appreciate them standing firmly attached to the earth, and I am especially fond of pine trees. When my infant grandson visited last summer, we went outside and touched the bark. There was no hugging, but it was a special moment.

This tree removal is what inspired my latest idea for a picture book. I would like to document our experience for my grandson and other children. It is a great opportunity to learn that trees get sick, and the life of a forest continues.

When the tree guy came to give us an estimate, he noticed something that my husband and I had not. What we thought was another cedar tree with unusually majestic form is in fact a Giant Sequoia. These extraordinary trees are native to the central and southern Sierra Nevada, and typically grow at a higher elevation and a bit further south than our residence. Our tree was most likely planted, along with the coastal Redwood tree behind our house, a much younger but no less beautiful conifer.2016-01-31 15.42.14_resized

So while I am feeling sad to lose a tree that I admire for its place in our little ecosystem, another tree just a few meters away soars skyward to capture my fancy. There are many stories here to share. I will enjoy my journey.

Welcome to My Writing Journal

Yesterday I was inspired to compose the first draft of the text for a children’s picture book. The story is about a young child who discovers a very personal consequence of drought when a favorite tree in the yard dies. It ends on a positive note with hope for the future. The illustrations will be collage and watercolor. Can’t wait to get started!

I found a great site to guide me in my quest for published authorship: publishedtodeath.blogspot.com. There are a multitude of resources linked to this page. So here I am, working on my strategy with a new website to build my platform and the beginnings of a plot summary for my book.

I also began to research my market. The books I found that most closely resemble my idea include Fall Walk (2013), Leaf Man (2005), The Little Yellow Leaf (2008), Fall Leaves (2014), and Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf (1991). I will continue my search, but so far have not seen anything quite like what I have in mind. I would say that my book would appeal to educated parents who are concerned about the environment and want to educate their children to be global citizens.

Of course, I realize that I have a lot of work to do. The illustrations (one for every two pages of a thirty – two page book) will not simply materialize before me. But planning is always a good idea.