Kleptophiliacs and Mudflat Heroes Make Me Swoon

Come join me in Bali!

(Underwater, in the northwest corner of Bali, to be exact.) Where wily critters commit outrageous acts, both visible and invisible to the naked eye.

The air is tinged with salt, the light gauzy as the Balinese sun opens its eyelids. A kingfisher shrieks, swoops, perches with quarry. Omnivorous deer graze the beach, nuzzling flotsam. Sea-smells mix with an undercurrent of anaerobic decay, the perfume of tidal mud flats. Surface waves nose the pier and lick the struts where I crouch, shrugging one leg then another into a skintight bodysuit pulled taut by stretchy loops encircling my insteps and thumbs.

The suit is an all-in-one insurance from jellyfish, sunburn, and cultural offense to conservative Muslim neighbors, Javanese immigrants preferring their women overly clothed. Zipping up I check my free-diving equipment, rubbery passes to the other-world: oversized flippers, wrap-around mask, “don’t run over me!” florescent-tipped snorkel, white plastic board and pencil for underwater note-taking. Another blessed balmy morning in a sheltered bay: no tourists or fishermen, just me on the verge of unmitigated joy.

My ecstatic Indonesian snorkeling discoveries are featured in a new collection of wildlife stories and poems published by Riverfeet Press ($15, 2019), Awake in the World, Volume 2.

The collection is a terrific antidote to the heart-wrenching news – climate change, species extinctions, fracking pollution – surrounding us daily.

Awake in the World mixes humor with drama, short-and-sweet with long-and-deep. Perusing the Table of Contents, I found: ferns, fens, cairns, calamities, canyons, herons, heroes, and hot flashes; along with alligators, carcajou, skeletons, salmon, and one tigre.

Although the book is also listed on Amazon, the publishers have provided the authors with a discount – so if you’re intrigued enough to purchase a copy (or two!), message me here, or on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

(I’d also 💗 *love* to give a reading in a library or bookstore, hint hint.)

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