With the end of the book so near, I thought it might be a good idea to start re-assimilating the better cuckoos of my nature. So, rather than hitting the road for my morning three-miler (my usual preparation for the full day of writing to follow), I decided to take my coffee, binocs and Sibley Guide out back to test the pursuit of hundreds of past mornings.


Cool, quiet morning. Breathy. Cuckoos calling across the river (thus the second meaning of this post’s title). Trout dancing joyously from water into air. A visit from an uncommon guest: a pine warbler. Hummingbirds buzzing like tiny B-52s. An eagle (the female, I think) catching a fish right in back of the house. A bunny.

Idyllic, no?  I was terrified.

Big and scary world out there. There’s a sky on top of my head, and it’s huge. Very green. Too much to see. Too many possibilities. Too much air, and not quite enough to breathe.

And my beloved characters? They’re not out there. They stood tapping on the patio door, not wanting to come out, just wanting my attention, reminding me that they wanted me where they were, not where I was.

Experiment over. Coffee, binocs, Sibley: back into the house. Here I sit, safely re-ensconced behind the walls of Fortress Mac.

Am I exaggerating this episode, brought to you by today’s sponsor, Agoraphobia? Probably. A bit. Somewhat. No.

Recovery from The End is going to take time. But it had better not take much of it. Because very, very soon—as soon as I stop hurting—I’m going to be jumping in all over again.

It is okay to sweep a patio only twice a year. Isn’t it?