I have a white board full of ideas that I should be writing about. I’ve got verbal confirmation from a couple of different editors who are looking for essays from me; I’ve got a blog that’s just been in limbo, mostly empty. And I’ve been sitting here nearly an hour.
I’ve written a couple of paragraphs that went no where. I switched over and wrote a couple of emails. I’ve check Facebook. I’ve texted. I even laid flat on my back on the floor and meditated for a few minutes. Create. Creator. Created. I am created by the Creator to create.Then Tilly pounced on me and nearly poked her paw through my sternum. So much for meditation.
Needless to say, I’ve had some creative challenges the past few weeks. It seems everything I do draws from the same source. I used to have a job filled with numbers and spreadsheets and queries. I could do that all day, and still have plenty left in the reserves at night for words and stories and relationships. But in May, I took a job full of words and stories and relationships. I read and write and interact online all day now. At night, there’s not much left for the writing I do for me. And for you.
And right now, I’m not sure what to do about that.
It’s been raining here again over the past couple of weeks. Four or five times now, we’ve gotten heavy showers that lasted for hours. The earth is soaking it in, nourished and quenched by what was lacking for so long. The trees and bushes are flowering again, the temperatures have cooled back to normal, and the grass is growing thick and green. I’ve had to mow twice.
But before the scientists even got on the radio to tell me, I already knew. Just because we’ve had a few rains doesn’t mean the drought is over. It was really hot and really dry for a really long time. Our area has received only 60% of the normal precipitation for this time of year, and even after the first few rains, some parts of the state were still considered to be in an exceptional drought. My area is still in an extreme drought.
It was hard to imagine as I was pushing the lawn mower back and forth across the yard on Friday that we are still in a drought. I skimmed off a good three inches of growth from just a week ago. Nearly all the yellowing grass has been shaved off. The weeds seem more controlled now that the real grass is growing. Drought? Can’t be.
But take a closer look out my window, and there are still signs. A small tree in the front yard lost all of its upper leaves; they’re still gone. My raised beds are empty, except for a few weeds, reminding me of the desperate days when I pulled up the tomatoes and potatoes. The back yard still sports a few bare patches, places where even the weeds couldn’t survive during the driest days. And the worms: I still haven’t seen many worms.
It rained again just today. I heard the tinny popping of the drops on my chimney as I fed Tilly this morning. When I looked outside, the patio was wet, and I even had to grab a jacket to throw over my head as I ran from the car to the office. I almost complained. Almost.
But then I remembered all those long hot days. And the drought we are still in. And I knew better.
We need all the rain we can get.
I’ve been praying a lot tonight about my creativity problem. I went so far as to call it a “creative misstep” at one point. I told Jesus that I feel like I am giving away the best parts of me to my employer now, and there’s nothing left for me. I regret saying that. I’m not even sure what it means.
I feel like I am in a drought creatively right now, because each day I am opening up the dam and letting let the water rush out of me until there is almost nothing left. Even for work the next day.
But I don’t have to stay empty, to remain dry. Because anyone who has lived through a drought knows that all you need when it gets really dry is a good rain.
A good rain several days in a row.
Funny thing about this weather, it seems I’ve been writing about it a lot this summer. What has the weather done to your writing? Maybe it takes a drought for me to have something to write about.
Photo by silent shot, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.