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It All Takes Practice(s)

I’m looking at the smallest twigs of a bush holding baseballed clumps of snow and
looking into tall pines, boughs draped white, standing in a circle around me.

I’m looking into a small stream, searching for a solidly frozen place to step and then
squinting at the remarkably yellow—actually yellow!—sky through hardwood branches.

That was my Tuesday afternoon. That was before the grocery store, and before I went into the kitchen to cook. All of that preceded jumping into Writers for Recovery via Zoom where the given prompt “I’m looking into it” sparked that little poem.

I have a commitment to be outside for twenty minutes every day from January 1 to March 31. I have not yet missed. It’s becoming easier—and a satisfying routine—but I’ve lived in Vermont long enough to know that there will be some days this will be really hard. Think “ice.” “Ten below zero.” “Wind.”

The idea stems from early in the pandemic. Walking outside eased confusion and fear. I watched spring hint at its arrival, then arise from thawing ground. The changes made sense; the progression was soothing. Of course those buds were forming! Of course those leaves were opening up! It was time. The evolution was gratifying. (What happened next is covered in this post.)

Tuesday, as my pace again found its rhythm in the dampened quiet of snowy woods, I realized I was writing. Ideas for promoting a workshop (stay tuned!) and for making content for my new website were rising from somewhere just under my skin, then circling in fragments of sentences outside my head. They moved in a kind of slow natural orbit, detached from me and part of me at the same time. Their company was comfortable.

On another walk I remembered again my intention for the past year. Not only had I planned to retrain vocationally; I wanted to establish practices that support my well-being. Spending time in nature is one. Writing is another. Making things helps.

What practices nourish you? What moves you forward?

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