Sunday, August 19, 2007

Next? - Harris

As I hand two bulky Express Post envelopes to the young woman at the Canada Post counter, I know my last excuse for not turning those ideas scribbled on bits of paper all over my desk (and my last excuse for not cleaning my desk) is gone. Maybe just in time.

The date on the envelopes tell the story: Summer is almost over. I will have to focus completely on my work to meet my goal of getting a dozen queries out to editors before September.

Until today, this hot rainless summer has been filled with writing that Arts Grant funding proposal for my next book. There hasn't been much time for a bike ride; less time for visits to the pool or the lake; and certainly no time to write convincing queries to editors.

While I've been frustrated by the detailed work plan, the budgeting, and ALL THAT PHOTOCOPYING, my proposal excused me from deciding which editor, which publication, which project to begin with.

But now, I have no excuses. And I'm exhausted after pressing those portfolios into the envelopes. Right now, I have no idea which project I'll tackle first. And I feel pressed because I know I have too many project ideas and too little time to write them up.

Hoping to get an inspiration, I buy a coffee and sit down behind a table stacked with locally grown carrots, beans, and tomatoes. The vegetables inspire me, but not to write.

In a few minutes I'm walking home with all the ingredients I need to make stew.

It's an eery night. Too quiet. I feel like I'm on the edge of the earth as I walk along the green strip and through the park. Some people would say there is calmness over this city, this night. They'd say it was a good thing. But I don't like this atmosphere. It seems too quiet, like time has stopped. I feel like I'm walking through a painting.

Still, it's a pretty scene at dusk. And, I'm thankful that it's cool enough for once to walk. The trees look a little greener and grass a little more lush on this overcast evening than they do in the bright sun. Big billowing clouds hang low like a gray blanket tent. Invisible birds chirp loudly. I can tell from their song that they expect rain.

I guess they are thanking their maker, in advance, for the coming feast of earthworms. Taking their cue, I begin to sing a little prayer.

In a moment or two, the quietness is no longer uncomfortable and I'm oblivious to what people living on the street might think of the woman walking down their sidewalk singing.

I feel the 'peace that passes all understanding' that was the topic of this Sunday's sermon. And I understand: I don't have to map out the steps myself. When I sit down at my desk tomorrow morning, I will ask Him what project to tackle first. He already knows the answer. But right now, I'm right on time for dinner.

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