blogger: Cynthia Ruchti
Writers on the way to something else are among the most inspired.
An ancient prophet said, “Do not despise these small beginnings.” For me, small meant an inch-long, bright yellow blossom tucked among mottled leaves in the woods that border our yard.
Writers on the Way to No Place Special
My oldest granddaughter and I took advantage of a spring-long-waited-for on Sunday afternoon and walked around the yard and the pond, observing. She too is a writer in the making, as are we all, truth be told. Perpetually “in the making.” My granddaughter and I noted unusual bugs, weeds that looked like cauliflower would if it were downy soft and standing on a wobbly stem, buds emerging after waiting in line so long they jumped when it was finally their turn, the stark contrast of a single daffodil against the aged wood of an old bench, bleached grasses bowing to the youthful versions rising at their feet.
We walked slowly. Ambled. Without destination. On our way to no place special that day. But it became special because we observed, listened, noticed.
Writers on the Way to Discovery
We picked two wildflowers and studied them. One boasted eye-catching yellow–a welcome color after winter’s monochromicity (I don’t even care that’s not a real word). The second wildflower was so tiny and delicate, it could only be observed at close range–pinkish white with deeper rose-colored veins. Appreciation reigned as the theme of the afternoon. But curiosity pushed us to add knowledge to our appreciation.
A round of applause, please, for the technology that allowed us to find out almost instantly. The yellow flower? Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum; also called Adder’s Tongue, Dogtooth Violet). Its long, broad leaves that rise from the base of the flower stalk resemble the mottled dorsal of a brook trout, hence Trout Lily. In the image, they’re the yellow, spiky blossoms in the shadow of the other, larger flowers.
The delicate pink-white flower with deeper pink veins and pink-tipped stamens? Diminutive in the image as well as on the woodland floor. The Spring Beauty (Claytonica Virginica).
Writers on the Way to Deeper Meaning
As we read further about the Spring Beauty, not rushing through the process but soaking up details, we discovered that Spring Beauties crave light and will close up at night or in dark weather. The tubers are edible and taste like radishes when raw or potatoes when cooked.
But another notation stopped us. They bloom only three days. We saw them because we had our eyes open on one of those three brief days of the Spring Beauty’s life-cycle. We would have missed its entire blooming season if we’d chosen to stay inside.
Writers on the Way to Wondering What She’s Talking About
Life is what we write about. It’s easy to get so caught up in the process of getting words onto paper that we fail to live the life we’re trying to write about. What if we spent less time plotting and more time ambling? How would our writing change if we wandered around more with no purpose but observing, noticing? What if we marveled more and marketed less? Discovered more and debated less? Listened to the non-verbal cues of nature, humanity, and our own souls? What kind of writers could we become?
What astonishing moments could we collect–could we create–if we let life interrupt and inform us?
Tell us about a seemingly small discovery that inspired your writing lately. How often do you allow yourself to amble? What nugget of research have you uncovered while on your way to something else?