Sunday, October 25, 2015

When Autumn Comes

When autumn comes, nature begins to slow down, and my brain wants to go into a deep sleep.

It’s the time of year when some of us come up against a wall and can’t see beyond it.

Where does the wall come from? Why does it appear? How do we deal with it until it vanishes? Maybe we should just go into hibernation and wait for it to fall down on its own.

Writing—or trying to write—on autumn days can feel like going out fishing and not catching anything.

You put your line in the water. You wait patiently for a bite. Nothing happens. So you put the line in again the next day. And nothing happens—again. At the end of the day, you’ve gone fishing. But you haven’t caught anything.

And the next day you go out in a boat. You drop a line into the water. You do it again. Fishing. Waiting. Searching for something beneath the surface that you cannot see. You lower your line and hope for a bite, for something wild to pull your imagination, to engage your intellect, your emotions, your whole being.

When the fish—the idea—strikes, it’s like bliss.

But when the line comes up empty, it’s discouraging.

Your mind fills with questions. Is it you? Is it your line? Is it your bait? Is it where you’re fishing?

You tell yourself you need to try somewhere else. A deeper hole. A shallower shoal. A beach with more seaweed. Or less rocks. Or more sand. Some place different.

Go out at night instead of early morning. Or try noon. See if time plays a role in your ability to catch something.

But here’s the thing: it’s a beautiful autumn day. The sky is crystal blue. There’s a cool, pleasant breeze. What difference does it make if you catch something or not?

When you step into the boat, you can enjoy the simple act of stepping into the boat. When you look up at the sky, you can enjoy the shade of blue that returns every autumn.

Look at the water. Is it smooth or rough? Warm or cold? Dark or clear? Can you see down to the bottom?

Look at your hands holding the rod, the pen, the pencil.

Give thanks for the beauty of the sky and the air and the water, for your eyes that can see, for your imagination, which may lay dormant now, just as the earth lays fallow for a time but is filled with hidden riches.

Even if you can’t find the words to put down, you can still give thanks for it all.

Maybe you can imagine a time when the wall melts away and you’ll hear your heart sing again. 

Maybe you'll find the faith to believe that words will spill out of your pen once the snow melts away in the spring.

Maybe you can already begin to hear it, the faint stirring of a story?



Bobbi Miller said...

This is lovely, as always, Bruce! And, this was the wisdom I most needed to hear. Thank you!

Bruce Black said...

Thanks, Bobbi. So glad to hear that you're finding the postings worthwhile. Keep writing!