Backyard Wonder

Various Small Sketches & Pockets Full of Words

Various Small Sketches

I told a friend recently that it takes me a long time to write because I care about the words and feel like they should be as clear as a map of the experience I’m sharing. When I read new words or hear them assembled in ways that make me pause to repeat them, to feel the perfect balance of description and imagination, I’ll write them down in one of my journals or in a phone memo. Needless to say there are tiny word scraps all over my life, some of which I  recall collecting and others that leave me wondering what was going on when I scribbled them down. 

Lately, in these long solitary days I find I don’t have a lot I want to say. So I take walks and listen to my feet. Sometimes it sounds like a quietish padding, as if I’m sneaking through the world. Sometimes, like today, the ground is covered in ice or snow and the crunchy cadence sounds like I’ve important business I’m heading toward. 

I listened to my footfalls, thinking of a short video interview of Edward Hopper discussing his artistic process . A gestation of the mind, he called it. He started with sketches that eventually turned into paintings. Or not. He said he often made various small sketches to develop an idea, or to work out detail, and I wondered as I listened if he ever simply stopped his process at the sketch. Did he ever see perfection in just the suggestion of emotion? 

I wonder about this because there are so many words that I like just the way I’ve found them, alone or in small humble gatherings. I read them, collect them for my own use, and then when it’s time to show them off sometimes I cannot find a way to make them sing sweeter than how I’ve collected them. 

It’s that way with nature, too. I find things, a feather, a spider web, a nest, and there’s nothing more to add. I couldn’t cast a single spell of words that would enhance the purest magic of nature.




Today my dog took me on a walk and we found some marks in the snow that at first I thought were ski tracks, but we stopped to examine them up close and discovered long rows of curved ice chunks, each with lovely spirals etched along their length. 

It took only seconds to work out the cause: the power lines crisscrossing our path were shedding their icy overnight skins. We stood there looking, both of us deep in thought. My dog was undoubtedly gathering data on previous passers by, and I was trying to think of how to use the pieces of ice to make a beautiful design, or tiny igloo, or message in the snow.



But the simple sketch created naturally was enough. More than enough. On this gray day in this gray month when I am tempted to manipulate a scene and develop it into something better I found the  sweetest description in letting it be.


Writer, Master Gardener, Chaser of Wonder.
Total post: 38

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