When I spend time out on the land, and I listen, it has things to tell me. Last month, while hosting Soul Spark with my friend and colleague Katharine Weinmann, I ventured outside to be on the land a bit before we got started. I followed myself across a clearing and looked down, through the leafless forest to the flatland along the creek. A mishmash of deadfall was easy to spot.
The mishmash called me down.
I stood with it for a while in the warm winter air. A chickadee zipped around me, from branch to branch. I heard the wings of a crow overhead. Three birch snags lit at the top by the setting sun. I realized that with this land I have found great clarity over the years.
It started with a wee solstice manifesto 4 years ago, when I was at a writing retreat at Strawberry Creek Lodge over the summer solstice, when I declared that when I write, I hold nothing back. The retreat results were that it feels good to just sit and write. (I also learned that I need a good night’s sleep in order to write, not nap…). In the fall of that year I found myself back on the land for the fall equinox, to distill, to define and describe my writing for a book proposal, only to find that I missed the retreat at the retreat.
Time out on the land is also writing time.
There have been numerous trips to Strawberry since these first trips in 2012, all of them involve self awareness – inside and outside. Inside and outside of me, and inside and outside of the building.
As I turned to leave the mishmash, I saw another mishmash of deadfall, just behind where I was standing. I didn’t see it at the time, but I was standing at a gate. At a gate of stepping into more writing.
At that first retreat in 2012, I learned what it felt like to write. I always have written, whether it is reports to city councils, papers, plans and policies, but I didn’t think of myself as a writer. I’ve been growing into that.
I stood at a gate of being more ‘writer’ in my day-to-day life. Inside and out.