A full-living moment happened yesterday during my Crossfit warm-up (click on ‘crossfit’ if you’re not sure what it is). It was special to no one but me. But I’m so thankful for it and want to share with you…
During our class’s warm-up time, our coach was relaying a funny story to one of the mothers about her (the mother’s) daughter becoming side-tracked during Kids Crossfit – head down to the ground in a bear crawl, noticing tiny yellow flowers, stopping to pick them and then continuing her workout in a sort of lame bear crawl, careful to preserve her new found treasure while being faithful to the workout. We all laughed and the mother made some comment about her daughter being easily distracted and the silliness of it all.
At the time Coach was sharing this sweet story, we happened to be mid-stretch – an exercise which also had our heads to the ground, watching for ant mounds while stretching our hamstrings and backs. In an instant, my eyes narrowed and focused on the earth below me, searching for flowers to admire – maybe even pick – as well. Everyone around me dissolved into time ticking forward. But I was suspended with the grass – it’s shapes and patterns, the intermingled shades of green. And the yellow flowers.
This morning, I began reading, Becoming a Writer, by Dorthea Brande. I’m not far in, but already I’m convinced she was some prophet (back in 1934) writing for my benefit. Brande exposes false notions of a writer’s temperament: namely the false idea that a necessary pre-requisite for any artist is they live by some bohemian, moody, amoral code and that this is necessary for their talent to flourish (I can’t help wondering if she had the expatriates of the ‘20’s in mind as she wrote). She calls this a sad legacy from the last century and a “remarkably embarrassing inheritance”. Interestingly, though written nearly 80 years ago, I confess having suspicions of my personal success with creative writing for precisely this reason – I’m no bohemian, and doubt any movement towards that end would benefit my family.
What she does say about the true writer is this:
“… the author of genius does keep till his last breath the spontaneity, the ready sensitiveness, of a child, the ‘innocence of eye’ … to see traits and characteristics as though each were new-minted from the hand of God instead of sorting them quickly into dusty categories and pigeon-holing them without wonder or surprise….”
I thought back to yesterday’s little girl with braided pigtails and red-rimmed plastic glasses, who saw tiny yellow flowers and lived in their beauty. I remember smelling the freshness of spring grass and my eyes searching for yellow flowers, too. I did see some. They were in a small clump, each flower the size of a newborn baby’s pinky nail. So perfectly formed individually and together creating a blur of yellow, invisible from any distance further than arm’s length from the ground.
I saw them. And was the last one done stretching.