i haven’t been writing lately. i have the regular surplus of seasonal excuses – the greenhouse is full, the irrigation needs to be set up, the salad mix is overdue for a weeding. i come home tired. i wake up groggy. i work all day in between. it’s not as if i am feeling overly stressed, my life feels manageable enough. but i am lacking that creative joie de vivre that only comes for me when i allow myself the space to turn down the static of my life, dip into the depths of my imagination, and write.
this evening i stopped by tim’s barn to hang out with the goats. the late evening sun cut bands of light through the holes in the barn, illuminating swirls of flies and straw-dust, the flick of long ears, the mumble of moms, the constant grinding and chomping of teeth, the little spastic hops of the kids. i’m glad i stopped. to be alone is a beautiful thing, in a barn, the creek running down below, the light filtered just so. to be alone is something i sometimes avoid, for fear of loneliness, for fear of being left out, for fear of suddenly dying, beneath the hooves of seemingly gentle goats, with no one there to hear my last words pronouncing to whom i bequeath julius.
there’s some saying, about how we are never really alone. there are the stars, the bees, spiders spinning webs in the corners of our houses, and bluebirds who throw themselves against our windows. the deer pass by and stare at us with those unblinking eyes. even the wind shares company with us, and the trees too, standing stoic, watching over it all. but it is the lack of human company that can be so upsetting. or depending on the context, very appealing. to not have to talk. to not have to negotiate who’s going to make dinner, who’s going to do the dishes, who’s going to pick up the dog from band practice. to read a book, to write a letter, to make soufflé without worrying that it will sink, because only i am there to watch it rise. there are, in fact, good things that go along with the territory of being alone.
but the difference for me, between an evening alone and a lonely evening, lies in how much i am willing to just be with myself, with whatever feelings arise, whatever thoughts come. so mostly i feel lonely when i am scared to do something bold, something vulnerable, or something creative. any sort of action that requires a premeditated presentation of an aspect of myself, in the artistic sense. write a blog post for example? i’d would much rather have someone entertain me. because then i remain safe, emotions tucked up inside, nary a story of inadequacy nor a tick mark added to my sense of self-worth. “make me happy,” a part of me is saying, “show me something interesting, and poignant, and illuminating about me and everyone i know, about the human condition, about life and death and so on and so forth.” i am resisting looking at these things for myself and by myself. i am turning up the static of my life rather then drop into the unknown waters of the present moment.
so guess what? i’m writing a blog post. maybe you noticed. and it has vaguely to do with goats, but it mostly has to do with allowing myself to write something, anything, and how good it feels to stop the mind’s chatter, the body’s constant need to work the farm, and just say something out loud. you may love it, you may, hate it, but i’m not too worried because i have also added pictures of baby goats.