This month long break from grad school has been immensely different than I'd anticipated. Full of tumult and crash and quiet. It's been far less about getting work done and instead working on me. Working on some transformative practices (meditation, reading and soaking in Natalie Goldberg and Alan Watts), and in a strange way, learning how to let go and not think all the time, letting go of that chaos mind, or at least, like Goldberg says, developing a relationship with it.
I barely got any fiction writing done, and only now, a week before classes start, am diving deeply into working on my thesis. Oh well, 'the best laid plans of mice and men'...
There's this tree outside my window that I've been spending a lot of time with. In Writing Down the Bones, Goldberg's friend says to her: "Natalie, you have relationships with everything, not just people. You have a relationship with the stairs, your porch, the car, the cornfields, and the clouds." (118). I love this, and it's not in some cheesy new-age way that we are one with everything in the world (well, in part it is exactly that, but not in the cheesy way!). So me developing a relationship with my tree is about... well, I don't know exactly what it's about, part of the beauty of all this is not having to fight to put things in words anymore.
I might not know what it's about, or what it means, but I love looking at this tree. I love the way, that no matter how heavy the branches, every one curves up at the end of their arm, reaching up toward the sun. I like it's naked winter form, the way the tiniest wind can shake all the hundreds of little twig branches, different ways all at the same time. I like the way that near mid-trunk, there are these two branches that look exactly like a ballet dancer or a gracious host or entertainer with arms outstretched to the tips, beckoning you forward.