I know the world is on fire. But it’s also an “inhabited garden.”
There’s been a group of dedicated volunteers collaborating with my town for at least twenty years, to develop an interconnected trail system. Part of the funding comes from “selling” benches that are placed along the trail–sponsors may attach a plaque in memory or honor of someone. Here’s one:
When I passed by this bench on my walk last week, I was kerfufflating about a newspaper article that described the dishevelment of our government. I was planning when to make my phone calls and where to make my donations.
Then Rosie the dog began snuffling around the edges of the bench and I thought, what the hell, I have five minutes. I sat down.
I let the weight of my body be held by the bench, the bench that a worker’s hands held steady while settling it into the ground, the bench that held the words of long-gone Goethe, the bench that held a reminder of a mother’s vision of the world, and that held her children’s memories of her.
So much has gone before me, so much is alongside me, so much will come after me.
It was good to be held while I rested in the expansiveness of the so-much-ness of us all.
I took a deep breath. It smelled like rain and crisp wild onions. It smelled like enough.
“And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see – or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.”
The spirits, alive and dead, who make ours an inhabited garden are not served by my despair, by my angst, by my kerfufflating.
Eleanor Wilner, at this year’s AWP conference noted that writers, particularly poets, are “writing to break out of constricted thought, out of the gated white community of minds.” She stated that writing changes the world because the world we live in, lives in us; thus, by altering the world in an internal creative act, the writer also shifts the external world she lives in.
Rosie finished her sniffing and looked up at me: ready?
May it be so.