Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sensory Excursion and An Asterisk Experiment



Sunday writing with my writing friend - the prompt was to take a sensory excursion outside my window, then randomly place asterisks (without rereading the text or being too precise) and turn those designated lines into metaphors that had to do with my life. Here's what happened:

Experiment With Metaphors

Sensory Excursion with asterisks

Rain fell in the night, wetting the patio stones, washing the dusty colored leaves of the forsythia and the lilac. The air is damp and cool and pungent. *Everywhere flowers that just a few weeks ago were vibrant and healthy are losing their petals, exposing their bones. The tall yellow centers of the rudbeckia, the brownish stamens of the phlox, the pale pink hips of roses add small, quiet pulses of color to a garden otherwise devoid of all hues but tired green. You can almost see the brightness of summer draining away. The giant maples are turning to shades of yellow and orange and rusty red. *The songbirds are gathering and headed south – already the mornings are silent save for the crow and the strident jay. An early flock of geese passed overhead last evening and splashed down on the pond, disturbing the ducks and claiming the water as their own. Milkweed pods are bursting at the edges of meadows and along the roadside. Bright yellow finches tear at thistle fluff and the *catbirds cry farewell from the branches of the walnut tree.

I have pulled the withering cucumber plants, the leggy tomato vines and the faded bean plants from their beds. The*compost heap grows large, the garden beds lie blank and exposed, the chives, though still green and flavorful bend toward the ground as if too weary to stand tall another minute. Late bearing raspberries glow bright pink under yellowing leaves. The air smells slightly of wood smoke and decay. The guinea hens from the farm next door lurch across the lawn, mining the grass for bugs. They talk to each other as they go, their voices like squeaky springs. A* soft grey sky hangs low over the horizon. The sun may come back before the day is over but it will be a cooler light, a more distant star than in weeks past. It will sparkle on the drops that cling to the grass before fading into dusk and dark.


Everywhere flowers that just a few weeks ago were vibrant and healthy are losing their petals, exposing their bones.

My senses are flower petals, fading and dropping to the ground to lie wasted and mourned. Sight fades, hearing, tasting, smelling fall away one by one, leaving only the stalk of me, a blossom stripped bare of its youth and beauty.

The songbirds are gathering and headed south – already the mornings are silent save for the crow and the strident jay.

The autumn of me - that internal space where transition occurs - holds the absence of sound, the stillness of a pause, the twin feelings of anticipation and regret that accompany change. My thoughts are songbirds headed south.

catbirds cry farewell from the branches of the walnut tree

I am the catbird that cries farewell from the walnut branch, the bird of summer readying for a long journey, preening my feathers for flight, knowing the winter of my life is bearing down from the cold north, recognizing the possibility that I may not return the following year

The compost heap grows large, the garden beds lie blank and exposed, the chives, though still green and flavorful bend toward the ground as if too weary to stand tall another minute

When all is said and done, I am a garden bed and nothing more, plowed and harrowed and raked over, planted, weeded, harvested by my own hand and the hands of other gardeners, finally stripped of all that I produced in a lifetime and laid to rest in the dark and cold.

A soft grey sky hangs low over the horizon


And if I am a garden on the earth, I am also a bit of wind-blown cloud in the sky, hovering at the horizon, hoping for a glimpse of my former home, waiting for my chance to be rain, to nourish again all I loved while I was earth.

6 comments:

Out on the prairie said...

A rather interesting challenge. I have never seen this before.

Wisewebwoman said...

Wow, we mirror each other today. Evocative and nostalgic, love your writing.

XO
WWW

Hilary said...

What an interesting challenge. You have risen to it well. I suspect there are a large number of seasonal changes in you yet.

Paul Martin said...

To me the following two paragraphs point to two different (yet reconciliable? I don't know...) ideas of ultimate reality as possible hopeful:

"When all is said and done, I am a garden bed and nothing more, plowed and harrowed and raked over, planted, weeded, harvested by my own hand and the hands of other gardeners, finally stripped of all that I produced in a lifetime and laid to rest in the dark and cold."

--Maybe being nothing more than the garden bed is a good thing. Maybe we can start to become conscious of this in life as we know it. (Nonattachment, the experience of an identity broader and more inclusive than the one we started out with.)

"And if I am a garden on the earth, I am also a bit of wind-blown cloud in the sky, hovering at the horizon, hoping for a glimpse of my former home, waiting for my chance to be rain, to nourish again all I loved while I was earth."

--Corresponds more to the traditional western idea of heaven as reunion with loved ones.

Tabor said...

You have met this challenge super well!! I love the pictures you painted and how you converted them to your soul. Interesting exercise.

Barbara Shallue said...

This is a wonderful exercise. I have a feeling your results far outshone anyone else's - you have such a gift for bringing a reader into your world with your words. So evocative. I'd like to see your results in the spring.