People who write have many reasons for doing so. I think I’ve mentioned some of mine. Memories as a boy of being out in nature and the way it made me feel. Worry about what’s happening to the world today. That kind of thing. On occasion, though, there are other, artistic sources of inspiration. One is evocative music (which perhaps reminds me of those earlier moments as a boy). Another is literature.

I once read a book by Clifford D. Simak called Mastodonia. A book about time travel back to the interglacial Sangamon stage, 75,000 – 125,000 years ago. I read it in hopes of getting a glimpse of someone else’s take on prehistoric life. Not the kind that I think we see too much of in prehistoric oriented fiction: human scandal transported to an earlier, unspoiled time, but something else. A description of the beauty of the world around them. What was the earth like? In Simak’s book I found a paragraph (sadly, but one paragraph) that did indeed evoke those sentiments, the first paragraph of chapter 21.

“It was spring in Mastodonia and everything was beautiful. The mobile home stood on top of a little ridge no more than a half mile or so from where the time road brought us through. Just down the slope from the home, a grove of wild crab-apple trees was ablaze with pink blossoms, and the long valley that lay below the ridge was dotted with clumps and groves of crab apples and other flowering trees. The open places were a sea of spring flowers, and the entire area swarming with songbirds.”

Fine writing that! I remembered that paragraph while penning my own take on the prehistoric world, but expanded on it quite a bit. I guess I love the thought of exploring the world when it was at its most beautiful.


Later note: I recently read Little House on the Prairie by Mary Ingalls Wilder, a true book penned around 1935. Absolutely fantastic! If you want a whole chapter like the above, read Prairie Day in it. It’s the forth, and my favorite chapter ever. But really, you should just read the whole book.


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