Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Scent of the Thing

 Many writers are asked where they gain inspiration. Do they have a special spot? A certain nook in their house? A certain path they walk? I do.

Mine is heavily scented with rain-painted honeysuckle...

...I've fought duels there...

...I've been proposed to...a dozen times.

...I've spoken a deal of wit I'd never have the nerve to use in real life...

...I've fallen in love...

...I've been beautiful, bewitching, and charming...

...I've tread a measure with a lord and out-witted a highwayman.

...I've held my breath; imagination and reality so intermingled that I cannot separate the rustling of rabbits in the hollow from the footsteps of a lurking villain.

I take that path through the wood almost every day with Churchill. He gallops up the trail before me, pausing, panting in the bends of the path, a silly dog smile on his face. He doesn't mind my absent smile. He does not think it queer when I whisper under my breath:

"I've come for a tryst with the gloaming,
 All purpled in shadowy gloom.
For that half-light time, half song, half rhyme,
In a breeze of spiced perfume..."

I have settled scores and age-old feuds on that path through the wood. I hold great councils and speak brilliant things, and the green all about me keeps me company and tells me I am clever.
Some days, like today, when the rain has softened the carpet of nettle-teeth holly leaves I take my walk barefoot. Soft moss and decades of leaves pad my feet from the ground. I tip-toe over the holly, my unfortunate feet now and again finding a holly-leaf stubbornly resilient to the softening rain. But I do not mind. The teeth of the holly would become the lances of a legion if I desired them to do so.
Words flood my mind and I hurry to fasten them with pins to my memory, that some of them might make it home and onto the page. But I grasp at wind. I reach for fern-lace and verdant moss. I wish to bottle the scent of the honeysuckle and keep it forever.
And I cannot.
Some part of the magic of that wood will follow me home, I know, for my mind is clearer and poised when I return. But the life of it, the breath of it, the green glory of that inspiration must stay behind, waiting for the next time I step foot in the fairy-glen. And really, in my heart of hearts I would not wish to capture it, for all the grace and glory it might lend my words.
 There is something wild and bewitching about the untamed splendor. Something that would only spoil, were I so bold as to clutch it to myself. After all, some things are best left "woodsy and wild and lonesome."


Esther Brooksmith (wisdomcreates) said...

I loved this post. It captured my attention and held it. As I read about this place in the woods, I wished you could capture it...I thought perhaps you HAD captured it...and then, in your last two paragraphs, you suddenly made your entry not mystic and unreal but very close to home. I have a place in the woods just like that! I wish I could capture it and I cannot, and I feel that if I did it would only spoil like fruit that is left on a shelf. And yet, somehow, I feel that, if I go there and "absorb" the beauty and wildness of it, a part of it will always go with me. A part of me will be shaped and molded and better for the time I spent in this place that God created.

Rachel Hope said...

This post is amazing I love the way you wrote it.
your nook sounds lovely, and inspiring
Rachel Hope