We jumped into the car, buckled up and headed North,
this boy who was not mine, but rather mine for the day.
His father felt sure that he would read the whole trip,
his nose buried deep within the pages.
Instead we talked about books, and humour,
about the end of school and class assignments.
There was one teacher in particular who challenged him.
She asked the class to write everyday.
There were diary entries, and environmental essays.
The one that stumped him the most, was his response to the color blue.
Listening to him describe his intention I got lost
in the clouds and sky above
and the sea that he drew around us.
We spent the afternoon together listening
to four authors talk about their experiences.
The room was filled with kids from all over the state,
buzzing as if in the presence of superstars.
I took it all in.
The energy and enthusiasm of the kids
and the treasures I found in the writers words.
“Books start with a question.”
“Long walks by yourself give you the best ideas.”
“If we’re lucky books turn out bigger than we are.”
“Take a break, experience new art. Come back with fresh eyes.”
“Books that made me feel something were my favorite.”
“I write from an unsettled past, trying to make peace.”
“… to get lost in a story, to be changed by a book.”
The ride home was filled with conversations about everything:
Wondering about the genesis of mail trucks and
what it would be like to drive on the wrong side of the road.
Contemplating cities and urban environments that preserve
buildings rather than tear down.
And when words weren’t necessary,
we contemplated the green rolling hills
and marveled at the mountains.
the sun-dappled dirt road
and eventually it led us home.
And then last night I sat amongst a group
listening to an author discuss the rural life
and writing short sentences.
His voice bounced out into the crowd and they received his words like water.
This wasn’t the frenetic, kinectic energy of the kids,
rather a communal experience.
Taking in the words,
easing into the spoken rhythm and language,
being quietly inspired to
read more, write more,
to live more observantly.
To take in everything around you as if it were
your own true gift.
Afterwards I went with a friend for coffee.
More words, laughter,
and a deep understanding
of the importance of connection.
She dropped me off when we were done.
I dusted off my bike and rode through town to my car.
The streets were deserted,
the air was warm.
There was a slight breeze
which blew my coat and skirt up–
making me laugh like I haven’t done in years.
Sometimes it’s being in the event itself that we cherish,
trying to take every precious moment in.
Sometimes it’s what follows after,
the attempts to preserve and remember.
To find just the right ways to express that joy.
To make time for what fills us.
And then to let it all spill out.
I want to write and write and write.