Thursday, February 17, 2011
"I bloom indoors in the winter like a forced forsythia; I come in to come out. At night I read and write, and things I have never understood become clear; I reap the harvest of the rest of the year's planting."
-- Annie Dillard
I've been working my way slowly through Annie Dillard's nature writing classic Pilgrim at Tinker Creek this winter. I grabbed the book at Half-Price Books this past summer, figuring if I was going to spend all this time writing in the woods, I ought to study one of the definitive woods writers. To be honest, it's slow going for me and Annie. I pick Pilgrim every now and then and always find wisdom in the pages. Yet in the time it takes me to finish a chapter of Pilgrim, I manage to read entire other books. I'm dabbling my way through this winter's reading, picking up a little of this and that, collecting plenty of helpful, informative kernels as I go, like Dillard's quote above.
Reading about Dillard's wintertime experiences at Tinker Creek, I was struck by the juxtaposition of, well, almost everything, the winter season offers.When the world is at its most externally abrasive, internal time seems almost mandatory and as a result, when the world is one frozen, leafless scene, we're often doing most of our annual growing. This time of year, when my time is of my own design (for better or for worse), I can read and blog and write with only self-imposed productivity goals to add urgency to my days. For sure, this fallow time is my most productive writing period of the year.
I always wonder at the New Year being located at the end of December. To me, February always seems to be the time of year I feel most in control, when I can look back on the past 12 months and clearly see progress made. In summer, I lose my sense of balance and start to feel as though I lead one life too many. Even after the summer job draws to a close in autumn, it takes me a couple months to regain that balance and once again become master of my own time.
In these quieter February days, I can really revel in a new writing assignment or idea. I can look back and see clearly the slow but steady progress I'm making down this writing path. Writing obligations become desirable, coveted, not just another thing to do. In the dark and cold, I'm a forced blossom, thriving not on the light and warmth but on the words flying from my pen onto paper. Even in the deepest winter, I'm blooming.
How are you blooming this winter?