Saturday, August 27, 2011
Digging Yellow Dock Is Always A Potent Metaphor
Saturday morning, fairly early and definitely quiet. I am bearing witness to the slow waking of my neighborhood, the first weekend the students are back. Classes start Monday. The tone has changed. Still, over the trill of crickets and songbirds' breakfast chatter, a church bell sounds in the distance, signal that morning mass is over. The miracle has happened once again. The sun is gentle and crisp.
In the past week, I have been systematically addressing the 2 years of overgrowth in my garden. I have to be gentle with my back so I have to limit my time but, if I am consistent, I can make good progress. I always identified with the tortoise when I was a kid.
Since we have also had consistent rain this week, coupled with the end of season pacing that allows the roots to flex their muscles less, the soil is perfect for disruption.
I have to decide how I want to redefine the form and texture of this garden, now that the sister maples are gone. The stump mulch I convinced the arborists to leave behind has been fully incorporated into my garden and the neighbor's yard. There is a topography now to play with, as well as new planting options since there is so much more light. I can return to my interplay with rocks. I know there are some that are ready to be off the ground, ready cause confusion and marvel with their acrobatics as they balance in musical ways.
I dig weeds best when I am working through some new level of healing or awareness. This has been another summer of facing zero income and redefining my work plan. It is the summer of my 40th high school reunion, a significant milestone. It is the summer of my recommitment, after considerable review, to the work, the learning, the journey of my identity as both poet and educator.
There are so many ways I can express all of the ideas that swirl through my brain, much like Hurricane Irene this morning, slapping the east coast with her outrage. Somewhere I find the eye of the frenzy as I dislodge the deepest tap of the dock root or chicory. Fear is exorcised and everything becomes clear for a few moments. I ignore the incessant ringing of the phone inside the house, bill collectors and those who anticipate I am available. I am working. I am not obliged to answer quite yet. I am writing and I am strengthening, readying for the next phase of both my life and my sometimes awkward career path.
I do this work because I want to share all the ways I am excited about language and communication. I love the making of poems. I love the ways people know each other and themselves better through the many masks poetry may wear in connecting with human understanding. How they discover and thrive in their own creation or comprehension. I find tremendous satisfaction in sharing this art that I adore, this way of engaging in life.
I love music. I like poems for that reason too.
I am creating a patchwork quilt of work to sustain me, hoping I get through and build a stability once again. I am becoming more and more vigilant in my reaching out to readers and advocates. There is work and I will find it. Or the people who will benefit from my perspective and my approach to learning and writing will find me. There is purpose in what I do, what Quraysh and I have created in our dialogue that became our book.
One of the unanticipated lessons in writing Our Difficult Sunlight has been discovering that I like to write prose. It is why I am offering more through the blog as well. I am a writer. This forum has become a consistent part of my practice.
The other day, someone asked me how I had time to write if I am blogging regularly. I responded that this is writing. I also realized that I am just taking some time away from poetry. I value the quiet times. Like Saturday morning in the yard. A time for review and redefinition. A time for the fluster of a flock of powdery brown little budgies chasing to the far side of the street to perch on the church railing.
Besides, when the air smells like ice cubes melting on a countertop and the bird commentary echoes The View, I can retreat from the deadlines, the proposal concepts, snippets of poems, agendas, calendars, and urgent communication, the marketing plan, the storm in my brain. I can stop typing now to watch the daddylonglegs stroll the bind weed that has adopted my front railing. I can write. It is my passion, my entertainment, my art, my mission, it is my work. It is my identity.
I have dug very deep to attain that knowledge. I vow again: Onward. As directed one New Year's by my dear friend Phil, Proceed and be bold.
I can return to my pitchfork and weed weasel, as I am about to do.
I trust the work will come. I have many irons in the fire. I have been creating options and choices. Each time I have reached a roadblock, I have regrouped and charted an alternate course. I hope I am right. I would like to not struggle so much but that may be contrary to the dharma anyway, so I dig deep, loosen the tangle of overgrowth, listen to the devas as they help me design the planned community of my front garden, how the wind chime choruses their recommendations. It is all part of the revision process, the eternal thumb puzzle that is my life (to quote my friend Brian).