by Phyllis Capanna © 2012 joyreport
I had a dream that two wolves were curled up on the path in front of my house, waiting for me to leave. I started to freak out, as people do about wolves, but the more I watched them, the less menacing they seemed. Still, I did not want to have to walk past them. I knew how instantly they could turn from gentle to fierce.
Funny juxtaposition, being in a building, being visited by wolves. Pairs of things: being in a house, looking out; two of them; about to go, waiting; afraid, intrigued.
I do this, we all do: listen to my head, when my gut is telling me something else.
“They’re dangerous!” says the head.
“Let’s go meet them,” says the gut.
I woke up. There was more to the dream than that moment, lots more before the wolves, but that is what I am left with, a fragment. A chance meeting, unspoken communication. They seem to be still waiting there as I go about my day.
In my waking day, I did leave the house, sporting what my partner called “a wild look.” I think this means my hair was kind of all over the place. I visited the farmers market, scraping up cash to buy a quart of my favorite yogurt, made in the next town over.
A new gallery, Common Street Arts, had big wooden boards set up in the middle of the market for people to paint on. I painted. They were closing down and had only brown and gray left, not the wildest colors in the pack, but I made the most of them, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I could have painted happy abstractions all day, actually. I got a sticker that I stuck on my T-shirt that people kept looking at in the grocery store later.
Maybe they came to invite me to join their pack. Maybe they are here to protect me. I feel nothing from them but gentleness and love. And that scary wildness.
“Your timing is good,” they seemed to say. “We’re here when you’re ready. But wait too long, and we may come and get you.”
I’m at this point with these essays where I am boring myself. I asked my partner how she manages to stay out of a rut with her drawings,. She says she wishes she could get into a rut, that way she wouldn’t have to start from scratch every day. I say, but my essays are all the same. She says, with infinite kindness, “I guess you’ll have to dig a little deeper, then.”
My daily morning writing used to be the only writing I did. I’d sit down and let ‘er rip, as Natalie Goldberg says in Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones. Now that I’m writing an essay every day, if I’m not careful I start to write finished product instead of the stream of consciousness I purport to trust so highly. When I do that it’s because I’m afraid, not of not being able to produce, but of not being good enough. And when all I want is to look good, I lose my voice, my innocence and my newness.
Perhaps that’s my biggest fear in delving into a writing challenge like this (for that is what it is, in the guise of a quest about joy), that my wild edge will get cultivated away.
Perhaps the arrival of my allies the wolves signals that, as usual, everything I need is right here now, waiting only for me to be brave enough to allow myself to have it.
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