Each day, each walk, she’s always there. Waiting; I’d like to think for me.
But who can know?
I feed her green mosses
She takes them from my hand. Unafraid. Aware. Last week she bit my finger.
I must remember to not take it personally.
After all, she is nature.
And so am I.
As Yeats wrote: Brilliant. Mysterious. Beautiful.
~Cheryl Capaldo Traylor, 2017
Nature is my greatest source of creative inspiration. Each day as I walk past this neighborhood lake and into the wooded greenways, I begin to tune out of the noisy world of cars, trucks, cell phones, horns, sirens, and constant chatter and into a world of birdsong, trickling streams, and squirrel scamperings.
It is then that I begin to experience the stirrings of the muse.
If I listen close enough, I will be gifted with more ideas than I could possibly ever use. At least in this lifetime. I used to carry a small notebook to record my musings, but I found that my walks became work. I started looking for instead of seeing. The inspired gifts came less frequently. Also, they became less vibrant and less interesting. Less everything. Something felt greedy about using my time in nature as a means to an end.
I went back to simply walking, noticing, listening without any intention to receive anything back from the experience.
I enjoyed my woodswalks without being attached to any creative gifts that I may or may not receive while doing so. The paradox is, when I quit grasping for inspiration, it came freely and often.
The problem was not my desire to be inspired; I am a writer, I need inspiration to write.
My attachment to the outcome of the desire was the problem.
I have learned to be in the moment and pay attention. Nature does all the rest.
Nature provides me with abundant creative inspiration.
And then, I go home with a grateful heart, and I write.
Words and Photo Cheryl Capaldo Traylor; 2017.