[Process Notes below the piece if you’re into that kind of thing.]
I crave sustainability, the type of mindful care that goes into gardening. A slow but purposeful turning of the soil, observation of the light throughout the day, diligent watering and weeding. I want the seasons and the phases of the moon to be respected for the cycles that they power. I want to bear fruit. I want to flower. I want to grow into a need for pruning. I want to ripen, with fingers pressed lovingly to my fleshy parts, checking for juice. I want to be harvested, so that the soil can be introduced to new things. I want to be counted among the bounty. I want to nourish, delight and satisfy.
Can I be the same way in my work that I am in my life? Can I be in life and work at the same time? How do I carve away the diseased growth and let new parts of myself sprout from the oozing seams of self-inflicted strife?
My mind and body have been neglected. The earth I was given has turned hard and barren. Water rolls off, pools into stagnant puddles. I have hidden my potential, covered it with rocks and discarded bits of the lives of others. There are empty beer cans and cigarette butts where there could be fragrant herbs or tumbling vines of squash or wild flashes of berries.
I have not had a reason to plant for a long time. My needs were few and I ignored even those for the lie of unworthiness and the siren song of cynicism. I could only imagine how different my late-blooming life would be, compared to the well-tended lives of those around me. I felt like on blight on the landscape.
But now I dream of a table, set for a family–my family, our family, the global family. I want to pile dishes high with steaming treats and let the wine flow and give everyone a second helping. I want to eat my fill and know that not a belly hungered for more. I dream of feasting. Of serving. Of celebrating.
To get to that, to raise a glass over the heavily laden table, to smile and give thanks and devour, I have work to do. Lots of work.
The soil has to be coaxed back to willingness from the stubborn, packed dirt it’s become. The dust must be convinced to settle, introduced to shy seeds and forlorn tools. My hands will break into blistering, strangers to the work, but they will harden and callous to do what is asked of them. I will sweat and curse and cry and rest and ask for help when I need it. But this field will be my new life, it will be my morning and evening. My waking cry and my waning lullaby.
My body will have to get stronger. My mind will have to expand. All of me will protest the toiling, the relentless striving. I will have to learn what blooms where I choose to plant, how to pollinate and propagate. Tending, tilling, tenderly telling those who ask about me that I am a gardener now, a grower and a guardian.
I will tell them about my dream. I will invite them to the feast.
This is the type of piece that came out of nowhere and isn’t maybe the most earth-shattering piece I’ve written, but it’s a good reminder of why writing is important to everything I do. It shakes loose these revelations that, before they were written, were just blocks. Obstacles. Frustrations.
I wrote this in the cowork space that I work from each week day. It was not inspired by a mood or a setting or a negative experience with a lover. The lack of pageantry in the way I wrote it is about as important as the things the piece told me about myself.