By process of elimination, maybe I could see the changes coming. It didn’t seem to me that I wanted too much – employment enough to pay my way at the doctor, keep fuel in the car, furnish myself with thrift store belongings. Locating my little spot on the Earth at Verona, Wisconsin didn’t look so ambitious as to be unsustainable. My mind and my heart are so hungry for belonging, and I have tried to feed them, too – sending out friendship wherever I can genuinely give it, finding help taming the hunger where it needs too much.
Still, these qualities and hopes keep slipping further out toward the horizon, an under-current of change like water taking sand with it from around your toes and ankles, as it runs back to depths you cannot see. Dazzled by hope, you stand there as the tide rises, stranding you in deeper and deeper water – or at the very least, you get an awful sunburn on your scalp before you notice you are the only one left on the beach.
My friend the writing teacher pointed out to me that I need to be writing, and this made me realize that I had stopped. Stopped, I imagine, because I can’t see the whole pattern right now, and I mistook that for the purpose of writing – to record the observed. That can happen sometimes, but it is a side-effect. The purpose of writing is to observe what hasn’t happened until it is recorded – to tell the pattern from the inside, where there is nothing to see but silty clouds washing against feet sunk in the mud, not knowing where the waves will crash to next.