A shadow is never created in darkness. It is born of light. We can be blind to it and blinded by it. Our shadow asks us to look at what we don’t want to see.
~ Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice
I am in the mood for a bit of a ramble today, wandering this way and that, not really caring where it leads or if it leads.
Have you read The Artist’s Way? And if you did, did you ever do the Morning Pages? I never finished reading (or working through) the book. After several tries, I finally gave it away. Maybe someone else found something in it that I didn’t. I’ve written about it before so I won’t bore you with it again now. Besides, it’s the Morning Pages I mean to write about, not the book.
I finished reading the book When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams. I should probably save that for our coffee chat, but there’s no time like the present, is there? It’s a wonderful book and I’m debating with myself about giving it away or keeping it to read again or, if not read it in its entirety, at least dip into it here and there.
I like the idea of writing Morning Pages, but have had difficulty with the reality of it. It’s a wonderful way to clear my mind, to randomly empty out word-thoughts on to a page. The difficulty I had with Morning Pages is having them sit around where anyone could read them. Not that anyone (that would be M since there are only two of us living here) would read them. But what happens to them when I die? Will someone read them? I’d rather they didn’t. That left me with the solution of destroying them each day or waiting until I’d filled a journal and then destroying them. Either way, the destruction of a journal (or simply some pages in a journal) takes time and effort. Burning is usually the best method, and that means waiting for our spring or fall bonfires. What if I die in the meantime? (Does anyone else think of these things?)
Ms. Williams, in her book When Women Were Birds, presents a solution to this problem and it is marvelously simple and effective. She calls it repetations.
When I want to see the furthest into my soul, I will write a sentence by hand and then write another sentence over it, followed by another. An entire paragraph will live in one line, and no one else can read it.
~ Terry Tempest Williams
So this morning I sat down to write my Morning Pages, something I haven’t done in a long time because I tired of having to destroy what I’d written. Although I suppose this method of writing could be seen as a way of covering up my voice, to me it was a way to let my voice free. Not only is it unreadable, but I didn’t once think about my penmanship or messing up and having to cross out (scribble out) mistakes. Julia Cameron’s instructions concerning the Morning Pages include something about not worrying about penmanship, punctuation, spelling, good grammar, and/or mistakes because it is a stream-of-consciousness style of writing. I try not to pay attention to flaws, but the inner perfectionist would always take note. “Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow, ” writes Julia Cameron. Yet I always did over-think it. With repetations, I don’t care because it doesn’t matter. I write, and the words flow. I start with a blank page. I fill it up. Then I go over it with my second page of words. And the third page goes over that. Three pages of words flowing across one page. It looks like this:
Instead of something like this:
Spring is short this year, and it feels like we’re going right into summer. I suppose that’s the usual way of things south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but I’d have to go back to previous blog posts to know for sure. No matter, really. It is how it is this year. I was out in the garden pulling weeds the other day, digging around under the lavender to pull up the ground cover that is taking over the world. I don’t know what the ground cover is, and haven’t seen it here before, but it is EVERYWHERE, growing over and under and around everything. If you stand still long enough, it will start winding its way up your legs.
As I was finishing up under the lavender, I looked down for some reason and saw several tiny ticks making their way up my arms. Five of them were crawling up my right arm. Five! And there were two sneaking up my left arm. I avoided going out to the garden or anywhere outside except the deck for the next two days. I didn’t feel like donning all the gear and anti-insect spray required to protect me from ticks. That’s an unrealistic stance in this buggy jungle world I live in so today I geared up and went back out to do some more weeding before the garden becomes nothing but weeds. There is mowing to be done, too, and there are seeds to start (I still haven’t done that and really should get to it soon!).
A doe (a deer, a female deer) was out near the scrounger’s garden yesterday. Yesterday was one of those days I didn’t want to go out in the long grasses. I opened a window and shouted. The doe, tall and lean, looked up at me and twitched her ears. We stared at each other for a moment or two, then she went back to walking towards the garden. I shouted again. Then whistled. When I was a child I spent a summer learning how to do one of those loud whistles that results from sticking your fingers in your mouth in just the right way. The doe merely looked at me as if to say, “Is that all you got?”
I went out to the porch and on to the deck, waving my arms and talking to her. She became a statue in the garden area, refusing to move except for the occasional swish of the tail or twitch of the ears. I let her be. I shouldn’t have. The deer have been bold lately. Deer ticks earned their name by feeding on white-tailed deer. But I was reminded of my mother, and of the deer that have turned up whenever I think of her. Mom loved flowers and gardening, and she had the greenest thumb of anyone I know. She brought back plants from the dead, she was that good. Maybe the doe was Mom’s way of visiting my garden even though there isn’t much to see out there right now.
I reckon that’s enough rambling from me for one day. Thank you for stopping by the Wabi-Sabi Ranch on this warm and beautiful Thursday. Shall we go to the Point to see the sunset this evening? There are enough high, thin clouds to make it interesting. Sunset is at 7:37 PM. I’ll be there early. I haven’t been out to the Point in a few weeks, and it will be nice to take my time and see what’s been happening on the small beach and in the marshes.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 171) Deer medicine (according to Ted Andrews in his book Animal Speak, the keynote of deer medicine is “gentleness and innocence — gentle luring to new adventures”). 172) The scents of lavender, sage, cherry blossoms, and the earth. 173) Wild turkeys strutting through the yard. 174) Pizza from a local joint that makes a decent New York-style pizza. 175) Morning Pages and the privacy of repetations.