My friend Edward sent me a meditation on writing from Henri Nouwen’s website. Nouwen says that one of the arguments we use for not writing is that we don’t feel we have anything original to say which he rebuts by explaining that we are each unique and no one has lived the life we have lived. And then he says this “Furthermore, what we have lived, we have lived not just for ourselves but for others as well. Writing can be a very creative and invigorating way to make our lives available to ourselves and to others.”
I really like the idea that when we write we are making our lives available to others. I especially needed to hear that on this raw May day. It has been a little over a year since I began to do these posts and there are days, and this would be one of them, when I wonder if what I have to say is worthy of being out there.
I think of all the women writers who have influenced me like Flannery O”Connor and Eudora Welty, May Sarton and Terry Tempest Williams, Maxine Kumin, and Mary Oliver to name just a few, and I am so grateful for their making their lives available. Their brave and beautiful voices have made a way when there seemed to be no way. I carry these voices as touchstones.
Someone once asked me what I would do if I had to stop writing and I said I would stop breathing. Writing is and always has been central to my life. And so I will make my way along the rocky coast of doubt and sing my song for anyone who wants to listen.
We have had what feels like a long, cold, rainy spring. The ground is so saturated with water that I can’t plant potatoes or peas or any other cold crop until it dries out. I have started squash and tomato plants in our little green house but we need more sun to coax out those little green shoots. They are not much interested in coming out from under when it is 40 degrees and raining, as it was this morning.
The kids are growing. They are two months old now and eating grain. They still like their bottle and fortunately their mother is doing a fine job of filling those bottles. Robert and I take them for a walk every day into the field out back, and they scamper and buck and twirl and jump at the sheer delight in being alive. No matter how much is on my mind when we first go out, there is no way it stays on my mind. It’s impossible not to drop the rock and just feel the joy.
And despite the cold, the harbors around us are filling up with boats, the lilacs are budded out and I am seeing little bits of grey green in my lavender patch. Yesterday, I visited Mainescape [mainescape.com], our wonderful local garden center and was dazzled by the reds and yellows, blues and oranges of tables and tables of geranium and forsythia, begonia, roses, irises, azaleas, daffodils and so many more spring flowers. I stood there and inhaled the perfume of all these gorgeous blooms with their silky green leaves. I felt as if I had walked into an enchanted land dripping with light and color and an extravagant sweetness.
This morning the sun rose and painted its pink and violet light all over the surface of the smooth skin of the water. And I couldn’t help but run out in my pajamas to try to photograph the untamable, scandalous beauty of the spring sun rising over Blue Hill Bay. The fishermen sped by in their trucks trailering their skiffs and smiled and waved at me. They have seen me before out there and they know they will see me again. They know I’ve seen them pull over and just stare out at the view of the islands and Western and Cadillac mountains beyond. We are all drawn to its sweep of sky and water, island and mountain as visible evidence that the sacred is everywhere.