Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lost and Found

You know how they, the annoyingly ubiquitous they, are always saying, "If you're trying to find something that's lost, stop looking."

Lately I've been searching desperately for my inspiration, particularly when it comes to writing. I had misplaced it somewhere and couldn't figure out where I'd left it. So, I've been digging everywhere. And coming up short. I know, you're going to say that you can't tell from my recent posts (except that maybe there's a waning in productivity). Trust me. It's been a bit of a trial for someone who is usually so overwhelmed with ideas that I have to tell my Muses to just shut up for a minute so I can concentrate.

The trouble is that sometimes I'm a lot like Dorothy when it comes to creative inspiration. I go looking for that other shiny dimension, the one fraught with oddities and interesting inhabitants. I forget the simplicity of sitting still on a bale of hay and appreciating my own back yard for the beauty that it possesses. More's the pity, because once I'm in that frame of mind, it all opens up. I can't look at a single dewy spider web without appreciating the movement and diligence of the spider or its colorful markings, or marvel at the frustrated boogie of the fly as it tries to escape.

When I stopped paying attention to my own back yard, I lost my inspiration. I lost my ability to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

So, I gave up. I quit looking, quit trying. I decided that I wasn't going to search for inspiration any more.

Of course, that's when I found it. They are nearly always right, are they not? Rat Bastards.

I woke at 4:30 this morning (why is irrelevant, waking is good). I was just in time to see the sky begin to lighten behind the mountain. The stars were still out against a deep blue velvet sky. Slowly the sun pushed its way into the morning, first rimming the mountain in golden fire, then casting a brilliant pink glow on the feathery clouds as it outshone the stars and turned the sky the color of faded denim. The trees, wearing the low fog like swirling skirts, stood out as black silhouettes against that backdrop.

I could say it was gorgeous, but the word would fail to capture the entirety of the view. I could say it was a knock out, but that would make it sound like a cheap show. But I will say that it was breathtaking, and this is true.

Fully awake after that show and a couple cups of coffee, I had to make a run to the store. A couple of blocks from my house, I had to stop so a doe and her fawn could cross the road. They slowly made their way across, right in front of me. I spoke quietly and said, "Take your time. You're beautiful." Once to the grass on the other side, the doe turned to look at me. Through tears, I smiled and said, "Thank you."

Then I realized what was happening. I'd quit looking and found what I was looking for.

The same thing happened when I met Steve. I'd quit looking and found who I was looking for. Or he found me. Or we found each other. Regardless, the rightness of it came as naturally as watching a sunrise.

People often ask me how I found my seeming inner contentment. And I am fairly content. I found it when I stopped looking at everything that I felt was wrong with me, and everything that I felt I needed to fix (and fix now, because there's no such thing as patience when it comes to self-improvement, is there?!). I found it when I stopped looking at myself so harshly, when I stopped searching for perfection that wasn't ever going to be there. I found it when I noticed the good in me, when I got excited about the things I was doing right. I found it as naturally and suddenly and as surprisingly simple as coming upon a doe and her fawn crossing the road in front of me.

I only needed to slow down on the path and pay attention.

'Cause it's the journey, right? The journey and not the getting there.

Of course, right.


  1. Wow, Barb! Awesome entry. You are a magnificent writer, your choice of adjectives does exactly what you want them to do. I can see the images in my own head as clear as being there myself. I have recently enrolled in college for my AA in journalism, I'm going to be a travel writer and I can only hope to be as good a writer as you. You are my inspiration! Thank you

  2. I so needed to hear this right now. TY for the reminder.

  3. I know darned good and well that you'll roll your eyes at this: You TRULY are an inspiration to me. We think so much alike about so many things, and yet, you always seem to go a little deeper, pull out a few more tidbits of things to ponder and understand, and I always, always learn from you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  4. Thanks guys! I'm glad if all this rambling helps anyone else.


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