coping, life, writer's block, writing

you gotta fight for the write

March 24, 2020, 1 am

Tonight I felt like I just had to write.

I don’t write everyday, just when I have something to say. Maybe that’s not best, but it’s me. For a while now, a week, maybe two, since all the virus quarantine social distancing non-stop 24/7, I didn’t want to write. I get like that when life’s too much. I feel a little shaky, my stomach jittery, my brain lazy. Maybe I should fight the malaise and the brain freeze, but I almost never ever do.

Eventually and inevitably, it happens. In a snap. In the time it takes for the brain to wake up. The writing bug kicks in, and I know I have to write.

For me it usually happens with a song, a great song, great words, one of the great song writers. And I always, always, think the same thing — I wish I could write one great song. Well, I can tell you that will never ever happen. The next thought is pretty much always the same — I need to write. Just like that. Not I want to write. I need to write.

So….

About what?
About what?

Hmmm….
Hmmm….

Tomorrow.
Tomorrow I’ll find something to write.

nature, pileated woodpecker, writing

tat-tat-tat-tat

I lifted my eyes toward the treetops, and took in the jagged black and white underwings of a large bird. It flew below the canopy, but high among the branches, then landed halfway up a tree trunk and started drumming. It was about 50 feet from me, and I was happy to stand there for awhile to admire. Look up, listen, watch, marvel. Pileated woodpeckers are so impressive.

The sound of the woods is always wonderful. Quiet and still and noisy at the same time. There are crows cawing, some little bird sounds…the tweets and the chee-eeps. And often woodpecker sounds. The familiar drumming gives your eyes a direction to search, but the pileated woodpecker is still hard to spot. Some say it’s shy. This time, though, I could see it. I could watch that incredible crested head nodding to pick at the bark.

After a minute or so, the surrounding noise of the woods tugged my attention, and I recognized there was a second woodpecker. Louder, closer, somewhere behind me. I wondered, almost subconsciously, if the two were communicating with each other. My curiosity got the best of me, and I turned.

Ah-hah!

Another one. It was standing upright as woodpeckers do, easily balanced on the side of a tree, not far at all from me. [the one in the photo]

What magnificent creatures.

Photographed March 5, 2020

nature, photography, pin oaks, prose, writing

pin oaks

Pin oaks are odd. They keep some leaves til spring. The leaves are ugly, more like tree clutter than adornment. Limp lifeless dull rusty. Nevertheless, on a February day, when the sky’s gray, and everything around you feels dreary and quiet, the wind picks up a bit, and there’s a soft rustle up above. High above.

It’s something like a hiss.

Like frozen crystals brushing by in an icy snow, tick, tick, tick, tick.

Or maybe the scraping a towhee makes when it’s tossing sticks and leaves under brush on a summer’s hunt.

A little softer than the crunch of fancy tissue we bunch around a gift for someone’s birthday.

Yeah, the pin oaks shiver. And then they whisper to the wind.

___________________________________
photograph from january 18, 2020

essay, life, nature, writing

dormancy

photographed january 21, 2020

I know some of you don’t like winter. You’re ready for spring.

But me, I’m like a bulb, or a tree, that needs some cold. I need a dormant period. We know who we are. I know other people like me. Yep, some of us…we have to have some winter.

I do a lot of fall photos. Changing leaves, pretty scenes, all the colors. Lovely.

But honestly, I don’t like fall.

9/11.

Other painful stuff.

Fall leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Like I’m trying my best to hold on to summer, and it’s hopeless. Like I’m not ready, I’m stubborn. Refusing. Refusing to turn my head. To what? To what lies ahead, I guess. Like a little kid who won’t take the medicine. Mouth shut tight. The head jerks left, then right.

That’s fall.

But winter to me is fresh. It’s snowed in and pulling on the heavy blanket. It’s sloppy clothes and old movies. It’s night-time, and it’s dark, and it’s sledding down a hill with nothing but worn-out bell-bottom jeans and a floppy piece of card-board between your butt and that cold frozen ground.

It’s necessary.