July 25th, 2005
You can see the evidence of time passing in the forest. There are stories everywhere. It is summer moving through it’s cycles and as I walk I count the changes. The grass is higher, up to my waist. The bullrushes are tall and brown, like big hotdogs on sticks. The milkweeds are finished blooming and the pods are large and filled with seeds, (as a child my grandmother would dry the pods out and paint the insides with nailpolish, her own strange decorating invention, I remember being amazed that there could be other exciting applications for the bright pink polish.) The apple tree limbs are weighed down by fruit like old men wearing heavy coats. I crunch over discarded apples with my shoes and listen as they make a cracking sound.
The cure for all that ails you can always be found in a long walk. One of my favourite teachers told me as much many years ago. If you have a problem just start out in any direction and keep walking until a solution or a feeling of weightless drifts in. I go to the woods to be released from all of the weight of daily life. The worries about money, the leaky pump, the waiting to hear if a manuscript is accepted (or rejected), the bills, the missing, the procrastinating, the insecurities that plague me, the leaving.
and I walk. I am wearing my brown cordoroy pants and they make a swishing sound as I go. Swish, swish. You just keep going. Until a shift starts to happen.
At first it might be that you notice a tree that you hadn’t noticed before. You bend down to touch the wiry ferns. Your mind clings to the heavy stuff because it has a habit of doing so. Keep walking.
Somedays it feels like I could walk for days. Swish, swish, swish. I will do twenty laps if I have to. I wonder what the animals think of this strange girl who walks in circles. The one who walks as if her hair were on fire. (Maybe that would be my native name.)
I think of the long quote by sculptor Sol Lewitt who wrote to artist Eva Hess (whose work I have been studying lately), when she was feeling stuck with her work and her life. At the end of which he says, “relax and let everything go to hell.” That is what it means to let go.
We have to be willing to experience chaos and laugh about it.