When you make work for a lot of years – writing, artwork, anything creative – you come to know that there will be down time. Life happens and you have to deal with it, or you’ve had a period of intense activity and the creative well runs dry. You might be in the bottom of a pit and having a hard time getting out, or maybe someone you love is in trouble or gone. But sometimes you just have to have a life.
I have come to trust those times without a lot of production because they are always followed by fresh starts. It’s as if we are the garden and we need time to rest and absorb all that nourishes us before new seeds can successfully sprout and come to fruition. For me, this timing often works out in opposition to the seasons. I often complete a project or body of work in the spring, and start something new or return to works in progress in the fall. But sometimes it’s hard to pick up the threads and get back to full speed. I do best when I go into the winter fully engaged, one reason I love NaNoWriMo, for its insane November effort that provides grist for the winter months.
So I was excited to put together a few days of pure enjoyment, made up of good food, walks and bicycle rides in the cool sunshine of late September, time spent with my husband and writing pals and just the right amount of focused work. Riding through the landscape of small farms near Fall City along roads edged with blackberries, inhabiting my body, I was purely happy. The fields were turning, though still full of pumpkins ripening, purple and green cabbage and kale and late summer flowers for market. I knew I could begin again after a summer spent away from major projects, that I was looking forward to returning to the enamel panels waiting in the studio and that hard-to-finish novel on my laptop, instead of feeling guilty for my lack of progress over the summer.
This too is summer’s bounty, the turning to fall and its new beginnings.