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Monday, September 26, 2011

Inspiration's Mother

I was trying so hard to be nice to Linda, but at some point, don’t you just get to shout, “You’re killing me here!”  Somehow I managed to swallow it.  Looking up out of my little world, I notice she’s suddenly donned her purple sweatshirt. “Where you going?”
“The woodshed,” she says meaning our chain-link wrapped ‘patio’ fronting the cornfield.  “I’ve asked you three times!” 
Maybe she’d invited me.  Maybe not.  It didn’t really matter; I wasn’t listening.   The dreaded day had arrived:  selecting colors.  Doors.  Soffit.  Facia.  Trim.  Ceiling.    

I need to order them now, says Tom the Builder.  Translation:  “Another month in the cabin if the schedule slips.”
This damned cabin.  While technically it has everything I need, my soul can barely lift itself out of the barrel chair.  Never mind soar toward our new life together in the House the Land Built.  Yet there we sat in the cabin, half a day  staring at color chips.  Monotonously churning like a bread machine, my insides felt heavy, bloated.  White bread inspiration.  Thank God my life partner perceives not only the muck but options, another way out.
“Want to go the house?” she asks.
As if a star had alighted atop the harvest-gold ottoman, I sat upright and spit out the Wonder Bread.  We couldn’t pack the Prius fast enough.  Color chips.  House drawings.  Blankets.  Red wine and two plastic cups.   I didn’t need to turn on the CD: the music was already playing in my mind.  Arriving at the construction site, I ran inside the shed, found the blue lawn chairs and sat them down onto the beginnings of our west porch, what will one day be our entry,

,,,where we will sit and wait for you to appear over the ridge top.

It's hard to put my finger on the source of the inspiration, the abundance, but picking colors felt like picking cherries or elderberries or wild grapes off the bounty of the land.  Of course, the physical construct, the decision model, was more realistic.  We could stand in the framed shell of the living room and at least imagine a ceiling, the horizontal plane, carrying our eye right through the top of the imaginary windows and onto the ceiling of the porch.  Ah!  So the porch ceiling color can enable that perception, welcoming the inside out and the outside in.  But our starburst of creativity came from more than just a virtual 3D model. 
As if the ideas were already here, or perhaps just being born, all we had to do was engage.  Find them.  Whether it was the place, the Land, or our connection to it, divine at times, I don’t know.  But in 20 minutes, we journeyed farther in our blue lawn chairs than an entire day in our cabin.  And I don’t mean just the results, the chosen colors, which are all just a theory, but how we felt.  I was so in love with my wife!  My life!  And Linda, poor Linda, impossibly stuck---who’d agonized over these damned colors---now beamed.  True joy!    Somehow we’d engaged inspiration’s mother:  the mysterious creation herself, still heaving and writhing in the glory, the divine ecstasy of life and death and life renewed.
My little mind, impressive as he can be, struggles to accept that he is not always the best provider of ideas.   As I sit here under the shed’s lean-to, gloved fingers typing---listening to the wind-rustled leaves---some other part of me drifts with those leaves, over stacks of split wood, over asters, white and blue, and out onto the prairie.   

Oh mother of inspiration, thank you!   You bless me.  

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