Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mental Clutter

When I was in high school I lived across the street from a large field that sloped down to a beaver pond surrounded by several square miles of woods and swamp. I was a night owl then, and sat awake until 2 or 3 in the morning, playing guitar, reading or writing. Sometimes I would sneak across into the field and lean my back against a pile of hay bales that formed a sort of barrier between the field and the house, and offered me a feeling of shelter from anything that might sneak up behind me (and believe me, there were beasts aplenty in my little stretch of wilderness). It was a calming place, and one where I could sink into the ground and release the stress of too many classes and homework, too much mental stimulation. One night, the darkness was blue, and the trees across the field were muted shadows against the sky, and I saw movement, barely, across the open spaces of the field. The shapes were so indistinct that it took several minutes to really accept that something was there, and the edges of everything blurred together in the dusk and the movement of something almost there. But they were there, a herd of deer, and I sat there for an hour, watching them feed as the moon rose higher in the sky, until at last they scattered back into the trees. At that moment, while watching them, the world seemed to pulse, and the night was alive with barely-seen forms and my realization of all that the darkness could shelter. I left the field with a feeling of heightened awareness, of inner peacefulness and calm.

I’m thinking of those deer because of my creativity barrier brainstorming last night, when one of the top things on my list was “mental clutter”, and is the thing plaguing me tonight. There is too much buzzing around in my brain-classes, ideas, stresses about doing my taxes, and I’m wishing I could sit in my field and let it all melt away, find some calm and clarity again. But I made some small steps towards a creative writing piece, and I suppose it’s those little steps that eventually get you across the line…

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