At first glance, the above picture shows a postcard winterland that brings to mind a white Christmas. But take a closer look. See the drooping palm tree standing forlorn in the background? And what’s that on the snow-sprinkled shrub in front of it? It can’t be right, but aren’t those orange-colored spots actual flowers? Birds of Paradise no less, for goodness’ sake.
The picture was snapped last week before New Year’s Day by my friends Kirk and Christy who live in Temecula, just north of San Diego. The cold, gray pond in that wintry scene was actually their swimming pool, believe it or not. Now, I’d seen antiquated black-and-white photos of snowfalls in Southern California (San Diego, Palm Springs) in picture frames hanging on walls of historic buildings, but never had I imagined I’d witness a true winterland practically in my own backyard. Sure, there had been frost on the front lawn, and the birdbath’s water had frozen over a few times over the years, but a blanket of snow? Never. Not since I moved from Colorado some thirty years ago.
And such was the unusual ending to a memorable year for me. Just as 2013 had signaled a turning point in my writing life as I wrapped up my six-year-long project in preparation for publication, 2014 marked another significant milestone as Once upon a Mulberry Field made its foray into the wilderness of publishing. Looking back on the past ten months since the book was released on Valentine’s Day of 2014, it all seems like a dream—a lifelong dream finally realized, but not without twists and turns, a few high points and many moments of anxiety and frustration. All in all it’s been a thrilling ride, one that I wouldn’t have missed for the world, and I have you, all my friends and supporters, to thank for it. Your encouragement and unwavering support have meant everything to me.
So here goes: May 2015 bring you and your loved ones great health, much happiness, and plentiful prosperity. I hope to have more good news to share with y’all over the next twelve months. Happy New Year, everyone!