Updated: Feb 16, 2019
This morning, before anyone else in the house was awake, I went for a walk with the dog. It was thirty minutes of blissful quiet, excepting the sounds of the birds' intermittent chirps and tweets, and the traffic on the nearby and unseen highway. I love the play of the morning light on the trees in my neighborhood - the way the rays of sun approach from the eastern horizon, making their branches and leaves appear as though they are lit from within. More than once I wished I had my camera. Instead I took mental snapshots, savoring each one as if it were a morsel of food in an empty belly.
Click. Small white egrets, taking flight against the light blue morning sky.
Click. Rabbit breakfasting on luminescent orange mangoes underneath the sheltering branches of the tree from which they'd fallen.
Click. Squirrel chattering crankily at the rabbit stealing mangoes from underneath his tree.
Click. Female robin, lighting on a branch in an oak tree. The dewy leaves, disturbed by her landing, cascade droplets of water like tiny diamonds tumbling to the ground.
There is so much beauty in the simplicity of this modest, average-looking residential block. Life is everywhere around us - the yellow flowering weeds, bouquets of which my daughters proudly collect and offer me, an innocent and genuine gesture of their love. Rainwater that collects in the swales, teeming with darting tadpoles. Birds calling, dogs barking, the occasional butterfly languidly flapping and fluttering over a collection of blooms. A flock of no less than 2 dozen ducks, waiting patiently on the lawn of the lady who feeds them morning after morning.
How many times have I told myself that in order to write well, in order to find true inspiration, I would need to step outside my mundane, boring little world? Truth is, that is just another excuse. There is more than sufficient inspiration available to me within the easy quarter-mile walk around my block.
Creating can be really hard work. Some days you wrack your brain for the right words, yet they refuse to come. You can be blocked on an idea for weeks, or months. You may pour your heart and soul into a piece, and then present it, bursting with pride, to a world that responds with a shrug of indifference. The reality is that it is easier to lament my lack of worldly experience than it is to simply sit down and do the work.
So, here is my challenge to you this week. Go out your front door. Walk around the block, or to the corner and back. Soak in the sights, sounds, smells. Take mental pictures. Then take those images home and create something with them. Draw a picture. Write a short story or a poem. Compose a piece of music. Take a photograph. Knit a sweater. Bake a kugel. Just take some kind of inspiration from your surroundings, and create.
I can't wait to see what you (and I) create.