Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Drawing on the Green

Spring weather has cracked open like an egg, and now that I finally have a day away from work I plan to get out into the woods and soak up the sounds and smells. It’s one of those rare spring days here in Illinois – a slight breeze, sun, the odor of damp earth & blooming green. Nice spring days are almost always accompanied by wind, so I’ll take the change while it's here.

After working last night and getting to bed late, I woke up around 11 with a folk song playing in my head. It seemed fitting for the bursting free of winter’s chains, for solitude and grey-green rocks. When it comes to this sort of thing, it’s always the fabulous poet Mary Oliver I turn to, because few people can put that yearning so poignantly:

    But little by little,
    as you left their voices behind,
    the stars began to burn
    through the sheets of clouds,
    and there was a new voice
    which you slowly
    recognized as your own,
    that kept you company
    as you strode deeper and deeper
    into the world,
    determined to do
    the only thing you could do –
    determined to save
    the only life you could save.

    From “The Journey”, © 1986 by Mary Oliver

So, with luck, I can get out and clear the mind with a long walk, find a cozy outdoor spot where the glare isn’t too bad on the computer screen and pound out a few pages in my novel – because, really, clearing my head of the static of semis, car exhaust, work, internet distractions, and electronic devices (aside from the one I actually write on) is necessary for the mindset of this novel. Wish me luck.

I’ll leave you with a couple of the songs that have been running through my head today. Because, hey, maybe they can help you clear away the smoke too.


  1. Thank you for the Mary Oliver poem. I've sent it to my daughter. And yes, it's wonderful to clear away the techno-fug. It's a dangerous distraction - but sometimes necessary, as is distraction.

  2. Hi Mike. All of Ms. Oliver's poems are wonderful. She's one of those wells of contentment that never leaves you feeling anything but free. Technology is certainly necessary, in its way, in this century that we've built solely to cater to its whims. As often as I'd like to take the laptop itself and toss it out the window like a mutinous prisoner, I realize what a crutch it is, how convenient it makes what I would never have had the patience to do otherwise. Ursula Le Guin wrote a blog post last week with her own enlightening (and very funny) comments about technology. It's worth checking out.

  3. Thanks for the link. Just got round to reading it - and I can't blame technology for the delay - other than, perhaps, distraction