A little self-indulgence. Last week I mentioned free writing as an exercise while on vacation. Here is mine, unedited.
A five-foot waterfall of flat stacked grey slabs in cantilevered tiers is surrounded and held up by large round New England field stones.
The water is loud, rushing fast, burbling in torrents down multi-level paths. There are two main tracks both leading to a six-foot basin below where water crashes at decibels that seem too high but after a while becomes background noise, pleasant, almost forcing a peacefulness upon you.
What starts as a smooth sheet spills off a plate, becoming strands of frothy splashes landing on a multitude of palm sized rocks. The water falls hard in clatters, spilling over the edges in a rush to the bottom. All this shaded by a background of feathery cedars, soaring pines and flowering shrubs that hug the edges.
It is hard not to pay attention to the fall. It demands to be heard if not seen. So I watch and I listen. There is constant movement, yet at a glance it seems frozen in time. It takes concentrated effort to tear my attention away, to write. The water beckons one to gaze while sounds whisper their hypnotic call.
The following I wrote for the write-in at my house inspired by my vacation, also unedited. I just wanted to give you an idea of what can flow when you’re free writing. The last one is a bittersweet piece. I was thinking all week about how this is likely my last vacation with the girls for a while.
What Calls Me Out
Craggy faced cliffs of the Maine coast beckon.
No white sand beach or palm ridged shore for me.
Deep green pine, and salty air incites joy,
Where eagles call high and seals low.
Still ponds with large mouth bass beneath
Fields of waterlily pads. Docks with frogs
And logs akimbo to the bank basks the turtles
And I observe the land, the life and feel at home.
Another Night Sky
The night turns cool at sundown
we watch the evening overcome light
darkening woods, deepening shadows.
Tentatively, twinkling pins holes flash
white, red, green, while satellites progress steadily
crisscrossing a diagram of technology
where once only god and goddesses connected us
Sunrise at Cadillac Mountain
Hundreds ascend like toads, hopping over rocks, scrambling down the smooth-faced boulders to watch the sunrise over Cadillac Mountain. It is a rite, a passage for visitors to witness the purported first sunlight to strike the Continental US. Hotly disputed between three mountains, there is no doubt the view is expansive, moving and worth the four am drive.
Some are hushed by the serenity, some moved by a spiritual vibe, a religious gratitude, or sheer wonderment of nature, a few with youngster chatter and coo. We all gape, despite a cloud cover that threatens to dampen the show. Clouds break in time for spires of yellow and orange to pierce the downy heads. Streams of peach and ribbons of blue streak in a panorama before us.
Minute changes in the sun’s position creates a cavalcade of photo ops. Sweeping beams pass through slivers of billowy plums. Shapeshifting, the mutating banks of vapor seem to move aside allowing the awed audience to pay homage to Ra.
They Move in the World Without Me
My daughters make plans without my input, though they politely ask permission they do not really need any more. The youngest still tethered to me by age and resources is more independent by nature, now the elder by adulthood.
I raised them to be this way. I wished them to be self-sufficient. Taught them self-awareness, cognition of their surroundings. They possess the strength to be scared and lost, yet not crumble, the fortitude of inner resources to prevail any tumult.
They are capable, smart and eager to engage challenges to their limits. I’m proud, but sense a loneliness ahead of my own making. One I wouldn’t trade for their autonomy but wish I hadn’t wrought upon myself.
They’ll be back-sometimes. They’ll stay in touch-sporadically. They’ll still seek my opinion, for what its worth. But they are closer than ever to being gone.