The floodgates are straining. They cannot be opened up just a little. I don’t have the strength to hold them so that only some of the run-off leaks out. It’s all or nothing. By letting the stream overflow on it’s own, I risk being swept away by the torrent when the gates can longer resist the building pressure of words on the other side. Just a few weeks ago there was a void so deep that I was sure it would never fill again. Such is the writing life and to be expected, I suppose.
For me it seems to be about satisfaction with life in general. When the river dried up about a month ago I allowed myself to do other things. I played, pottered about the house, straightening, neatening, and allowing myself to be at peace with the drought of words. I had time each day to notice the moon and stars as evening slowly overtook my world. I sat and marveled at the early swelling of flower buds, the unfurling of leaves and a robin chasing his image reflected in the side view mirror of a neighbor’s car. He was intent on capturing the heart of the lady robin who appeared to be flirting with him. She disappeared each time he would try reaching out to her. I could feel his frustration growing. Can the desire for a mate and the desire to write be the same? If it has to do with love, it must be so.
Instead of playing with words, I’ve been planting seedlings in the garden. A few days ago I planted over three dozen plants: Christmas ferns, bleeding heart, tiny shooting stars, native columbine and Alleghany spurge. They are happily growing in the corner of the yard under blooming dogwoods and forest green hemlocks. Now that corner is aglow with new life, Mr. Robin appears to have found a real Mrs. and they are carrying dried grasses and leaves to a newfound nesting spot. I’m at my desk writing words.
I’ve come to believe that the muse will never abandon me. We need a break from each other every now and then, like two lovers who go off to travel separate corners of the world. They return vowing never to leave each other again. They will of course separate again, but only for a time, because as the old saying goes: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
I wrote the following poem back in 1991 when I was struggling with words and life in general. Writing it helped me release the pressure building inside my head and my heart.
Yet they must
As if there is
A place to start
Here on this line
Who would hear
What I have to say