Today, packing boxes into my car, finding things stored away that I haven’t opened since I moved here three years ago, I felt strange. Driving to the dumpster near the grocery store to throw away bags upon bags of trash I’ve accumulated, I had an odd thought. It was as though I was experiencing and rummaging through my things as another person. As if this is what someone would have to do had I died. What we leave behind.
I don’t particularly have the strength to write, or maybe the time. I’ve edited some older poems today, and helped a friend look through her manuscript. I told her it gave me a heart pain. Because I haven’t written in a while. The same kind of longing I feel if I drive past a stable. I miss horses. I miss my brain on poetry. I miss my ideas, or, not even my ideas, because it never feels like my ideas, but a gift passed down from somewhere. I miss feeling the flow of it.
Even writing this entry feels awkward. Keep telling myself that once I get settled after the move, I will have space and time to sit and wait. To sit and write. And hopefully HEAR something come to me.
There’s a friend I’m avoiding. Why this person comes to mind right now, I don’t exactly know. Perhaps because when we communicate, I feel the door open just a tad. In fact, this person inspires me to feel the words again. And I don’t know if I’m ready. Or maybe I’m scared, or rusty.
I know every writer goes through this. When it feels like your ability has somehow gone away and will never return.
I ran across an old status I wrote while in Hawaii in December. I remember writing it and feeling the old me flood back in. It reads:
“I’ve taken your shirts and washed them in the sea, I’ve sworn I’d tell you the story of how my body knew heaven when you spoke, of how I loved you even when you woke, afraid of light, the day, or what path to take. I’ve prayed your clothes from you, I’ve washed and cried and rejoiced. I tried to flatten the horizon into a table where we’d meet and sing,”
And, recently, I wrote:
“It hurts to let You in. I am your smallest lover and the one who helps You eat the world. When You say trust me, my heart knows herself as both dust and Creator.”
It hurts to let You in.
Funny how I write about it hurting to let God in. Much like the words. It hurts. Because I know whatever I may lay down in words is not mine, but someone else’s. From somewhere else. Like being in tune to receive something, or not. And maybe I’m just not ready to listen.
Like meditation or prayer. Of which I’ve avoided in depth, as well. I sit on the edge of the lip of the canyon but can’t look down. Dizzy spells and feeling unsure.
Of myself? Perhaps. Too much pressure, or ego.
Of all this, of all the wandering and longing, the thing I miss most is honesty with myself and with the Voice. Miss the connection and the ability to care less if it’s perfect or sounds good on the page.
Or maybe the sadness I feel is more rooted in the ending. The ending of living in New York. The new beginning which is always scary and yet exciting. This beginning is much different than the last, though. This one chose me. The last one I chose. Or at least it seemed that way. I know I chose this one as well. I read this winter about prayer and asking. And how we don’t even realize what we need or ask for, but it is always given. And I asked for the desert and for space and independence and joy. And I’m looking at the edge of the canyon and there is is, a bird soaring, just asking me to join but I don’t know where its going and I’m afraid.
Dear Friend that I’m Avoiding,
I will call you and cry and tell you what I’m afraid of.
You will carry me to the edge and there will be a forest and a tin cup filled with leaves.
Drink the leaves, you’ll say.
And I will turn into the next room you are about the step into, and there we will write poems about leaving.