Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.
This week we drove with our two oldest grandsons and another much younger grandson from Eugene, Oregon to Denver, Colorado. The older boys have three young sisters, so they know how to entertain a toddler. Still, as we left the hotel early on the morning of the second day of the road trip, even with prompting, the toddler sat down on the sidewalk and refused to budge.
I have felt like that often in my own life, when fear trumped trust. Like really, you expect me to keep going, to get back in the car, back to work, to get back on the proverbial horse? I'd rather just sit this one out.
But that is not the way it works. No matter our desire to skip participation in life, the horse is still waiting for us to climb onto its back. And it won't budge or get out of our way until we do.
The past several months, whatever muses I usually summon to write poetry took a vacation of their own. I envisioned them swimming naked in the ocean, in sailboats waving lazily back to shore, mountain climbing, and riding bikes along the Pacific Coast Highway. One was on horseback, the animal wildly kicking up sand on the beach. And I was stranded on the side of the road, an observer.
And then in the middle of our harried road trip a name jumped off a road sign and into my imagination. Burnt River. I jotted two stanzas and just came back to them this morning. And then I wrote a second poem not about rivers or fire, but about my parents letters to each other. Or rather my fathers letters to my mother, and the missing ones from her. The muse named "parents" had found me.
My grandson had no choice, we strapped him back into his car seat for the long drive from Jerome, Idaho to Denver. I do have a choice, to continue with the work I have begun, or to sit by idly watching. The world continues to write, to create, to inexorably change no matter my choice, so it is far better to drag my little boat to the water's edge, jump in, and to sail into unknown waters. Not surprisingly, my poetry has always been found in those waters.
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.