What does it mean to shift from one season to another when the snow still falls and the wind whistles ice-laced tunes across the brown-coated land? What if the shamrocks delay their debuts and the violets linger beneath the swell of crusty dunes piled high against the cedars? Conversely, as we ‘spring’ ahead with the time change, how to account for the early peek of perennial beds, the too-early-to-survive budding of blossoms that, in years past, remained dormant until they were assured of milder temps? As March of 2021 rolls in, more lamb than lion in my part of Ohio, I consider the tides of our lives that rise, crash, ebb, and return, each year a different distillation of past action and present emanation.
The writer inside me stretches toward that incoming tide, hopeful that in the swell and wane of days dedicated to creative endeavors, a pattern will emerge that signals renewal and new growth. Like the seed packets tucked onto my gardening shelf, my stories lie dormant in the dark envelopes, waiting to be planted in the welcoming earth. My poems curl upon themselves, then unfurl like fiddlehead ferns, one fronded branch at a time. Inspiration filters through the louvered blinds of memory and observation. I plan more than I can complete so each day the promise repeats, wave after wave of meaning and tale, each marking my beach in mysterious patterns. I am not always certain where the journey will take me, but I almost always know where it will end.
To craft a work worthy of publication, a writer must polish each prase until it gleams like sea glass, rough edges smoothed, the arc of the story honed to a gleaming arch, streamlined and complete. I find this a slow and meticulous process, but a necessary one. Normally, I do not rush the work. Rather, I allow it to play out as long as it requires to achieve the desired end. If I do not reach the timeline I set, I recalibrate and keep going. Sometimes, though, with poems, I increase the tempo, allow the wave to pound against my mind, to carve the rock of inspiration until a truth arises in the pause between breakers. This third month of the year offers the perfect opportunity to create a challenge and a clarion call. I set deadlines, finalize plans for the months ahead, and set a development course, surfing out at low tide, waiting to capture the slipstream and venture further into the deep.