Geese have been flying overhead, honking like there's no tomorrow. Starlings swarm lawns, looking for brand new grass seed. Sorry guys, it's still winter here. Maybe it's warmer elsewhere, but I swear, winter here is clinging like a leech. My poor little daffodils are hanging their heads, just trying to survive on whatever the sun gives them. During my daily walk, I make it a habit to check out my favorite trees, looking for any sign that they're getting ready to bud. The other day, a plaintive screech was coming from one of the big oaks on the grounds of the Baptist church. Checking it out, I found a lone blackbird hanging onto the top branch, twisting one way then the other, crying loudly. They're usually in murders (are blackbirds a murder, just like crows?), so I figured this little guy became separated from his buddies. With dusk falling, he must have been desperate to find them. Searching the skies, I couldn't find any signs his gang was doubling back for him. Waiting a bit, I finally gave up and walked on.

His situation brought my thoughts to loners. Lee Child writes the ultimate loner in his Jack Reacher character. Think Paladin, (the Western variety), or many of Susan Elizabeth Phillips' heroines (and heroes, for that matter). They believe they're alone because of circumstances or their own sins, (Sugar Beth in AIN'T SHE SWEET), that they're the only ones who handle their problems, but eventually, they find they can rely on someone else (and must do so) to evolve and find happiness, no matter how much they don't think they deserve it. I guess that's why Reacher doesn't appeal to me book after book - I want him to learn he can and should share the burden. Even Bill Gates found his Melinda.

Besides, a static character arc grows old for the readers. Nothing more boring than a character who doesn't grow emotionally. Hmm, same with people, n'est-ce pas?