Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

There You Are.

Posted on | November 6, 2017 | 4 Comments

I was writing about my summer vacation and I had to download some more photos.  It took a couple days because in order to “download some more photos” I had to track down Pretty (whose schedule is fuller than a rock star), get the pics off her camera and onto to a little card, shove the little card into the laptop a hundred different ways until the computer finally recognized that the card was there, then hunt through the computer files to find where it placed the photos off the little card (Pictures?  Downloads?  Imported?  The Third Dimension?).  When I finally sat down to write some posts about the rest of the vacation photos, I had nothing to say.

She was gone.

I have no idea where other people get their inspiration. Personally, I have a writer inside my head that notices everything.  She makes snarky comments about people’s behavior at the grocery store or oohs and aahhs over puppies at the park or snorts with laughter when overhearing the conversation of the preteens in the backseat of the car.  She almost always has something to say about everything.  And all I generally do is ponder over her comments, edit them for suitability of public viewing (It’s a lot of editing.  A lot.), and put them down on paper.  Even when I am writing a story and not a blog post, it’s usually just a matter of fleshing out an idea or series of thoughts that she tossed out into my mind.  Leaving me to connect the pieces or fill in the blanks.

But she was completely silent.   Nothing.

While I believe in committing some time and an entire pot of coffee to a craft, I don’t believe in trying to force creativity.  Any other time that I’ve had nothing to write, I just went about my business until there was something there.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think I can write without hikes in the woods and afternoons cleaning the chicken coop and street festivals and garden chores and mandatory school meetings and all the detritus of life that catches her attention.  Plots and commentaries pretty much build themselves around the activities of my daily life.

But this time, no matter what was going on, she had nothing to say.  It’s not that I was depressed or bored or overwhelmed by crisis or staring blankly off into space in front of the computer.  My Writer was just on hiatus.  Which wasn’t really that traumatic.  Mostly because I have a million voices in my head.  I am basically Legion.  In a good way.  Probably.  Maybe.  Eh.

There’s the Gardener who is noticing the perennials that need to be divided and the butterfly bush that reseeded itself at the top of the driveway and should be transplanted.  The Farmer who berates me for not starting a fall garden, sends me out to brush the clumps out of the Great Pyrs’ fur, and is desperately trying to find out where the Welsummer is hiding her eggs.  The Housecleaner avoiding the moldy windows in the upstairs bedroom.  The Landscaper avoiding the leaves piling up in the yard and hoping the gutter guards that I traded a goat for last year actually do the job.  (After all, the goat did his job and there are goat kids to show for it.)  The Scheduler managing sports games and concerts and orthodontist appointments and and college financial aid deadlines and family trips and, holy crap, are the holidays coming?  The Parent tracking grades and filling out field trip forms and making healthy lunches and dropping off and picking up and dropping off and picking up and dropping off and picking up and dropping off and picking up and dropping off and picking up and you get the idea.  The Employee showing up bright and early and getting the job done and still managing to drive administration batsh*t crazy while she’s there.  The Friend at book club and on the morning hike and on a 2 hour phone call and meeting for brunch.  The Health Nut at the gym forcing herself to spend 15 more minutes in the magical belief that those 15 minutes will erase that cinnamon bun for breakfast.

All of those people gabbing away in my head.  Every.  Day.

I was recently visiting a friend in the mountains and I went on a hike while she was at a work meeting.  She called me while I was in the woods to let me know she’d have some downtime for lunch if I wanted to meet up. I told her I was only 1/2 way through my 7 mile hike and it was too late to turn back now.  She said that was great and she just wanted to make sure I wasn’t lonely.  Lonely. We laughed and laughed and laughed at that.  Never mind I spent the first 3 miles calling my husband to schedule after school pick up and drop offs, texting the plumber about fixing a toilet at the rental, talking to my parents about covering the kids for the rest of the weekend activities, and checking with the counselor at the community college about spring semester classes.  Lonely?  There are way too many things to do and too many people jostling for attention in my head for me to be lonely.  I’m pretty sure that when I am at meditation retreats or mindfulness sessions the other participants can hear the people in my head humming quietly to themselves or drumming their fingers impatiently or rocking themselves frantically in a corner while I’m “returning back to the breath.”

It was at the urging of the Gardener that I headed to the garden to save the seed heads from the zinnias and cleome for next year.  While I wandered the rows I noticed the garden had entered what I consider its “FarmPunk” stage.  At the end of fall the landscape of the garden always reminds me of the odd combination of form and function in steampunk art and design.  The metal and iron supports are visible beneath a dead and decaying world while new life still bursts forth, building atop all that has been lost.  It’s anachronistic and futuristic all at the same time.  What was and what is still becoming.  Life is racing ahead as if unaware or uncaring of the inevitable end brought by the approaching frost.

And it was while I was there, admiring the bird nest revealed among the roses and the chainlink,….

….when she arrived.   No excuses.  No explanations.  Just suddenly there, noticing the abandoned green beans among the flourishing marigolds.

Perhaps awakened by the gourds hanging off their desiccated vines, awaiting transformation into something new and useful.

Considering the baby cukes, newly grown from the cucumbers left abandoned at the end of spring, clambering over the remnants of the cherry tomatoes.

Not that all the tomatoes had given up yet….

Maybe she was intrigued by the prickly coneflower heads surrounded by rosehips.  A postcard of fall.

Or the prickly pear spreading into the gaura, nothing left of its airy blossoms but a pink tinge.

She took in the morning glory hoisting itself up any exposed inch of trellis or rebar.

Although it was the nasturtium that seemed to thrive the most in this forgotten world.  The nasturtium covering the evidence of summer’s bounty with its own peppery vigor.

I stuck the seedheads of zinnia and cleome in my pockets and pulled up a handful of nasturtium as I headed back up the driveway.  I grow nasturtium on the deck for Harvey the Angora bunny.  But that nasturtium had faded away with the last of summer’s heat.  I didn’t know why it was doing so well in the garden but I knew Harvey would enjoy the fresh, green treat.

And it was while I was there, watching him nibble away that I felt the Writer pick up her pencil.  Such a simple gift—a handful of greens from the garden.  Such a simple joy—listening to him crunch in contentment.

Now that’s adorable, she said.  That’s something to write about.

I closed the door and left him to his nasturtium.  I figured I had some writing to do.

Before I made it inside, the Farmer piped up,

“I smell bunny pee.  And there’s a lot of droppings under that cage.  Gonna clean that any time soon?”

Like I said.  I am Legion.

But I’m back.


4 Responses to “There You Are.”

  1. Diane Alderson
    November 6th, 2017 @ 1:52 pm

    Good to know that I am not the only one with all of the voices in my head 🙂

  2. Vicky
    November 7th, 2017 @ 1:01 pm

    Glad to hear you. You’ll quiet the voices in my head as they nod along in recognition of yours.

  3. Jane in Hawaii
    March 30th, 2018 @ 12:21 am

    miss you! hope the voices come back!

  4. Jane in Hawaii
    August 30th, 2018 @ 10:40 am

    Still checking in once in a while hoping you will write again.

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