While others might find autumn as the time to feather their nests and sock in supplies for the long winter (looking at you ant), I have traditionally found autumn to be the time when I examine what I have and decide what could go (just like grasshopper fiddling through the fields). Over the years autumn has been the time for cross-country moves, drastic haircuts, and discarding lovers. This autumn I am finding my footsteps in a new place, but I find myself wandering…into the woods and away from the best-laid plans.
So, I spent almost two entire days this weekend reading fiction with no thought other than to be sucked into the story. I heartily recommend Erin Morgenstern’s book The Night Circus for just such transportation into a time not your own. In some ways, I felt like a little kid again, knowing that there was so much that I was supposed to be doing, but instead just hunkering down on the sofa and reading. (Whereas ant would have been sending out her poems to carefully chosen literary magazines or harvesting bits of brilliance from the book for use in her later work.)
I was asked to submit a poem for an exhibit at our wonderful local museum. The title of the exhibit is “Who Has Lived Here?” At first I had planned to just submit a poem that I already had, but that felt like cheating, so I purchased a book about the communities who had lived around Kachemak Bay historically. What I thought would take just a few hours ended up taking a second trip to the library and lots of online research about a “lost” community just across the bay from me. I confess that I loved the research more than I love the final poem, but at least it honestly feels like it might answer “Who Has Lived Here?” (Whereas ant would have just found a poem that fit pretty well and called it a day to move on to a more industrious task.)
Finally I confess that I’ve been wandering in the domain between art and craft. No, not poetry, but rather dyeing and stitching. There is something so gratifying about creating something from things harvested and scavenged. Where there was nothing but scraps, suddenly there is a story. It is the same sort of love that I have for poetry – what was only a blank page and an idea, is now rhythm, sound and image – story. (Whereas ant would be forcing herself to finish her chapbook, researching residencies, and industriously making connections in the publishing world.)
Snow is coming… forecast for next week as a matter of fact. So I guess that I better wander back to the nest and make sure that I’m ready! Is it too late for this grasshopper?