Once, when I was little, I asked my dad what had happened to the forest as we drove through the Northwestern Ontario wilderness. The trees looked ugly and sad. Dead black things standing in silent testament to what once was.
Did you know that the black earth hides life? All we see is destruction, but the earth knows it as time to renew.
“The forest will grow back full of new life and food for the animals to eat.” Dad told me.
It can be the same with people. Don’t look at your burn out plots as lost. See them as places to grow new love.
Have you heard the plastic pull as knife slides across bag of black earth? Have you felt the beginnings of warmth as matter clings to fingerprints and stains nails dark? The dirt is chill. Yet the warmth flows, packed in pots of hope. Have you listened to the rustle of paper release seeds from captivity? Smallness containing miraculous promise. Snow may linger, but add a pane of glass to a sun of spring and greenhouses blossom in earliest spring. It makes my heart ring. Simple actions reminding, surrounded by soil’s grounding scent.
There is power in poetic verse. Words roll off the tongue like music and lose us in the sway of emotions that flood each word. But what about the messages hidden within poetry?
There are many ways to hide truths and or lies behind emotions. Often poetry takes us on a path we don’t control and we discover answers to questions along the way. But not always. If the engine that drives a piece is emotion, it’s inevitable that the author will sometimes get it wrong. After all, we need many more things than love to survive this world, and those that love should definitely still use the phrase, “I’m sorry.” Still, poetry has at one time taught us these things as truth.
How do we sift through the half-formed thoughts, fragmented ideas, and coloured emotions of poetry? Is it worth it? It is, especially when the poet speaks to us of their own personal story, with words that journey to understanding.
I say, you will never find gold if you are not first willing to sift the rivers for it. Maybe that is what a poet is. A prospector, braving the cold river of emotion, the pan of language in hand, searching the sediment of life for nuggets of truth. Will we find gold? Or pyrite? Or nothing but unwanted rocks?
You will never know until you are willing to jump in that river or start a poetic journey. The key is to understand it’s a journey, and a fragment of a journey, not a whole.
I thank God every day for the gift of the written word, and the gems I have found in the gift of poetry. But I also know, not every word I write is truth. They are expressions of emotion. I am also aware that the things I believe in this moment will change, as it should. Life is continually teaching us. A person who stays the same is a person who never grows.
I pray I can grow with open eyes and mind, ready for the truth, but also aware of the lies. For searching for both is necessary for growth.
Winter like I know it has still not really come to my new home. It has only teased us with a few day long romps through white, but that’s alright. It will be thoroughly enjoyed when it decides to make our new home, it’s home. If only for a short time.
I was not sorry to see 2020 leave. I was equally dissatisfied with 2019 and 2018 as well. I find my memories of the last 5 years fragmented and sharp.
But those shards hold truths I need to revisit. Sometimes puzzling through the mess is how we find out healing.
That is what life is, after all, an endless journey of learning. Each day holds possibilities for answers, healing, and growth. Painful or pleasant, learning is something we all do.