My muse and I have been off again/on again for a while now. Pretty much ever since she came back after more than 25 years and I left her hanging. I didn’t ignore her intentionally, but we had been estranged for so long, I realized this morning I didn’t know how to recognize her. This morning, in the cool breezy shade of my front porch, on the second day of a two-week vacation, she helped me remember. She must have been waiting in the wings for me to ask, because her reply was immediate.
I am the wispy clouds in a deep blue sky. I am the geraniums on your front steps.
I am the harmony of a million bees efficiently turning nectar into honey. I am not the bees or their song. I am the harmony in their song.
I am the quiet sound between bird calls. I am the space between the words on the page.
I am the refracted morning light bouncing off the open window in the bathroom.
I am the weight of the tree branches. I am the breeze that arrives without warning and tosses order into chaos so it can re-settle in a new way. I am the shape-shifter and the last light of the day. I am the first light of day and the prompt that cues the birds at dawn.
I orchestrate the insects at twilight and the bullfrogs after that.
I am the vibration on a viola’s strings as she tells us how luscious the stroke of the musician’s bow can feel – or how mournful.
I am the scented air that rises form a pot of freshly brewed coffee. I am the yellow in the coreopsis and the blue in the hydrangeas. I make the leaves dance and wave.
I am the light that lets you see your shadow – if you would only dare see it. Look!
Then write what you see.
There are no wrong words, only the seeing and the writing of it. Tell it true and I will never betray you. I am the one who sends the sweat from your forehead as you labor. I am the space between the tears on your cheeks and the earth.
The rotation of the planets, the unexplainable pull of the pen as your hand glides across the page. You can’t tell me that you know what’s coming next. We are not at now yet, but it has just passed by. I am that energy that carries you from now to now. I am you in motion. I am the mystery of your neural activity.
I am the creator of creation, the one behind it, the peephole in the wall. A hole so small even a termite must eat its way through, and yet if you look hard enough through the speck of darkness in the bright white wall, you will see another universe in its entirety. You only need to look and see, and write as you see it. There are no wrong words.
I am the catch in your throat. I am the hesitation you feel just before you express your rage and cry afterwards. I am she who draws your shoulders back so you can carry on and continue into the wind for one more day.
I am the rogue wave and the gentle lapping at the shore. I am the space between the bow of a fishing boat and the basin of a swell.
I am the leaping salmon, forever leaping up the stream, fighting my way to re-creation and regeneration, death and renewal.
I am the turnstile without a ticket counter and the glorious green of a meadow in the spring.
It is I who is always asking you what are you so afraid of.
I am the tickle on your face or neck, the one without a loose hair or tiny insect claiming credit for the distraction.
I am your dissatisfaction and the sand in your shoe, the tag at the back of your shirt that irritates and will not let go.
I am the expectation. I am the arrival, and I am the moment before a long good-bye.