The daily grind seems to have a surprisingly deleterious effect on a person’s sense of wonder and awe. Where I could once look at a riotous sunset or a cherry tree dripping with blossoms and feel humbled by nature’s glory, I now feel more of a sense of “meh” and carry on doing something else. Of course, that something else often involves suppressing the negative effects of a Dilbert-like experience at work, by flooding the senses with numbing activities such as binge-watching Netflix, compulsively building scale models or eying that half-empty bottle of Pinot Noir, all of which have only temporary effects and soon require ever more to keep the mind from dwelling on things that are the antithesis of wonderful.

The damp, cold, autumn-like weather of late has kept us from heading for the hills on the weekends to immerse ourselves in the renewed depths of nature, in places where we’re far from the noise of passing cars, unlike the last outings that were closer to home (and the city). This coming Sunday, I hope that we can finally head north and reconnect more meaningfully with the landscape to clear our minds, and hopefully restore some of that awe for the simple beauty of the woods along some of the more unspoiled trails. If we do go, it will be in the Blue Beast 2, seeing as I’m picking it up on Friday and leaving the original Blue Beast in the hands of the dealership for disposal. It has served us well and will be fondly remembered – for about thirty seconds after I drive the new truck off the lot.

In between, I’ll be working some more on The Path of Duty, and I’m happy to say that in the last week, I was able to work through my editor’s comments on the first nine chapters. Hopefully I can do as much between now and next Sunday night. Although I doubt my books generate anything like a sense of awe, at least I can work to prevent them from being awful.