It is a singular strangeness when a writer cannot write. I’ve been feeling singular (or strange) all summer. It’s not that I’ve written nothing at all. But there’s a lack of significant momentum. So I go nowhere, again and again. Yesterday I decided that is okay.
And, last week, I decided to coach myself. Beginning with emptying. Once, to a friend on Facebook, I called this process “making pools of peace” and she told me this image inspired her (enough to begin creating her own).
I’ve been considering my absolute love of water lately. I’ve been considering the need for pools of peace. There is the bath, and that is worth something. In fact, if I were more ambitious (or more willing to write about bath time), I would even propose a book to a publisher out there somewhere. I would travel the world to experience peace in tubs like the one I recently saw in a glitzy travel magazine. It overlooked Lake Luzerne, from the privacy of a hotel room perched high above that body of water. The window over the tub was from edge to ceiling—a full view of exquisite blue and mountains and serene clouds. The tub was square and large and reminded me of a Roman bath, except it was private (the way I like my baths to be), and it had its very own waterfall, which I thought might be worth traveling the world for (and writing a book about, along with many other baths I might find here and there and everywhere).
But, I am going nowhere. Which is, I understand, an actual choice.
So I look into my tea. Another, strangely to me, I just realized, body of water. Maybe this is part of why I love it every single day. The tiniest pool of peace, I can hold right in my hand. Peace with names like silver tips jasmine and oolong pearl, thé à l’opéra and, when I am feeling like a long-ago memory of Harrod’s, earl grey.
What they forget to tell you is that coming by a pool of peace is not always a peaceful process. I discovered this yet again (for I really do know this and have for a long time), when I engaged in my coaching assignment: emptying. I have been creating pools of peace around the house, by emptying corners and misused bookcases and inexplicable proliferations of paper and goodness knows what else across my lovely red oak floors.
My “nesting” daughter cried when she came home and saw the result of my hard and (for me) needful work. A waterfall’s worth of tears. And my shirt and shoulders were bathed with her sorrow over my pools of peace.
Yes, they forget to tell you this: one woman’s peace does not always come easily where another is involved.
Today I have been in my room all morning, looking out at the river, with my jasmine tea in hand. The sky is blue, the mountains bluer. Maybe later I will take a bath. Last night my daughter presented me with two kinds of ice cream she bought with her own money. Little vanilla and chocolate peace offerings. It was something she could do, and so she did it.
For peace comes dropping slow…
That’s William Butler Yeats, whose “Innisfree” I memorized earlier this summer, when my “nesting” daughter had to face a fear that’s been lifelong: the fear of doctors and hospitals. “Tell me the poem, Mommy,” she’d said, as she walked laps and laps around the recovery area after the absolute terror of a delicate surgery had been faced, and peace, slowly, returned to her world.
I will arise and go now…
Laps. Water. Pools. Tea. A morning overlooking blue. Poetry. Emptying. It’s all a-swirl in my mind, but I can feel the promise dropping from the veils of the morning:
And I shall have some peace there…
Dear––, in your own morning space today (which has now given over to afternoon), I wish you pools of peace, a kind of Innisfree, with its nine bean rows and its midnight all a glimmer and its noon a purple glow. Of course I hope that coming by it won’t require a waterfall’s worth of tears. But, if it does, then I wish you tea, as well. Silver tips, jasmine, pearl, or whatever feels most comforting when you hold it in your hands and close (or open) your eyes to the blue or grey outside your window. I hope you feel it—peace—in the deep heart’s core.