Not far from my house there's a small reserve with this lovely, cool green tree right in the middle.
It sits bare and forlorn all winter and then, without you even noticing, it begins to unfurl these gorgeous lime-coloured leaves. The tree affords a delightfully cool place to catch one's breath on a hot day.
I took a photo of it the other day because I suddenly noticed it had all its leaves!
On my walk today I saw my tree had some company. A lady was sitting on her folding chair with a thermos of tea and a scone, scribbling in a notebook. She looked up as I was passing (keeping my socially acceptable distance) and she said without any encouragement from me (apart from the smile I gave her), 'I'm writing a novel and it'll be a best seller! Imagine! At my age!'
I guessed she was probably in her 80s although one can never tell with certainty. She waved her notebook in my direction and said, 'It's a sex book.'
Way to go, I thought. 'Tell me more,' I said.
She said she had always had a novel in her and this was to be the romance story she had been thinking about for years. Her husband passed away last year and so now she had time to write. Her aim was to develop a pen name that befitted the romance genre and she planned to submit her manuscript to a romance novel publisher in England she had her eye on.
I told her I had once had a go at writing romance fiction under the pen name of Amber Forest. I figured out pretty quickly it wasn't my genre. My new friend wagged her pen at me and said, 'We all have lives of romance. You just have to let it bubble to the surface. Life is romantic! All you need to do is listen and write down what you hear.'
She said she liked writing under the tree because it was such a pleasant place to be on a warm day but it also inspired her as she'd had some of her 'best romantic experiences' under trees and in peoples' gardens.
I told her I was a writer and we had a conversation about that and then she paused for a moment, took a sip of her tea from a china cup festooned with roses and said, 'You're never too old to write a best seller you know. Look at Grandma Moses. She started painting her folk art at the age of 78. Her stuff is worth a fortune now.'