Two months in Denver, an entirely different environment. We bought a tall bottle of aloe lotion for our dry skin, we drink more water than usual, and we bundle up against the harsh winds with myriad-colored gloves and scarves.
Two months and Bailey is thriving! She leaps through the snow, her two-year-old puppy self perfectly happy as long as she's in motion! She's my example of adaptation. I watch her enthusiasm, unbound, immediate. Earlier while writing an email, I typed god instead of dog, and I am wondering how close I came to an unspoken suspicion. To forgive all manner of slights, to keep going no matter what you've been through, to leap into the unknown, these are holy qualities.
Two months of working, not writing. And now the freedom to write and the necessary silence all around me. It is going to take time to accept I really do have the time to ponder, to imagine, to expand my ideas outward. I think of writing residencies, how we all want that month to retreat into an atmosphere that expects little of us. But even this, especially this, the early morning quiet, the black dog at my side, the opportunity to make lists and jot down silenced dreams . . . this is more than I expected. And I am grateful.
Recently relocated to Denver. A move that is still moving, everything feels temporary and unfamiliar. The soup a lot of poets would like to find themselves in, the ever-changing circumstances fodder for any writer.
But I’m finding instead of writing, I’m keeping up, hanging on, trying to dig my heels in to slow down the forward motion of my life. And it isn’t working, so I’ll have to create from this place of uncertainty.
If you believe place doesn’t matter, read your own work. If you live near water, your poetry is wet, slippery even. If you live where it’s hot and dry, your images reflect this aridity. At least mine do. I’ve moved from a wet Oregon climate to a very dry plains climate. I love looking toward the west, the snow-covered Rockies looming, and then I think of further west, the coast where I’ve hiked and walked, all the things I love and dislike about being in a lush watery climate.
Our poetry tells on us. We cannot escape place. We are influenced not only by people and work and the condition of our bodies, but by the larger environment. Writers, poets, creatives, are sensitive to the feel of the air, the scent rising from hot asphalt or the grasses of the plains. It seeps into us, gets under our skin, changes us.
As I consider moving, movement, as I adjust to a new locale, I can’t know what I’ll write. I’ve written one complete poem this past month, revised it, reconsidered it. It is simple, nothing layered or particularly new, it speaks of endings and love, of letting go. Maybe I need to do the final edit and send it out, let go of it, allow it its own flight west or east, wherever it needs to go. Like me, taken by the wind, never quite sure where I’ll land.
My writing often deals with the environment, my poetry filled with allusions to natural and man-made disasters. I have unlimited hope though, there is just too much wonder in this world to become a defeatist. As Margaret J. Wheatley said, Hopelessness has surprised me with patience.