Elusive Balance

Nettles just picked
Nesto completed

The seasons in Alaska make balance particularly elusive. Winter is dark, cold, and interior. Summer is bright light, intense, and frantically exterior.

Case in point, gardening. First weekend in May usually heralds trips to the local greenhouses and planting things like radish and carrot seeds. So, that’s what we did. We purchased some tomato starts (mine this year were just miserable) and flowers. Everything else was started months ago in our living room, and has mostly been transplanted or moved to the greenhouse. The cole crop starts could possibly have gone in today, but my back is saying no.

That’s the thing, the relentless light makes Alaskans push ourselves too hard. Push ourselves until our bodies say no. So, my back started hurting yesterday when I was clearing out several (not all) of the garden beds, but I went ahead today and cleared out some more and plant seeds. And then, I pushed myself a little further to go out and gather nettles so that we could have nesto (nettle pesto) for dinner.

Tomorrow, I’m going to be sorry.

This is also the time of year that my two jobs collide – the start of the Storyknife season butting up against the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference. So, many many long hours. Hours when most folks are watching a cool series on Netflix, and I’m sitting on the sofa with my laptop creating schedules and sending emails.

I’ve been trying to push myself to write as well. To keep reading (I just finished Tommy Orange’s new book Wandering Stars last night – so good!). I’m trying hard to not let my own work fall by the wayside. I’m trying hard to keep submitting work to literary magazines (five acceptances this year so far, which is of unheard of in my world). 

But I feel myself stretching thin and I know that I need to give myself some grace. I know that sometimes I have to back burner my own poetry to get other things done, especially this time of year. 

So, if you’re out there hustling and working and trying to squeeze in writing and submitting and taking yourself seriously as a poet, I see you. Thank you for knowing that your writing and other people’s writing is important. Thank you for being part of the big web of writers and poets. Thank you for making art that makes all of us feel less alone.

And to the folks that I’ll see at the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference in two weeks, I can’t wait to hear about what you’re working on. I can’t wait to hang out with the amazing faculty and to introduce them to this wonderful place that fills me with so much goodness. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *