Henri Matisse is reported to have said “Creativity takes courage.” If so, I was enormously creative this morning. I went out before nine, thinking I’d find somewhere suitable to sit down and work for a while. Alas, Gentle Reader, it was not to be. The path I’d chosen was unfortunately shut off by a bright orange plastic web-looking thingy and I eventually found myself in a local park on the top of a large hill overlooking the city. (Marconi sent the first wireless signal from there a long time ago. This, in case you didn’t know, is a very big deal.)
Absolutely beautiful morning. Hot as Hades. I forgot my hat and so the sun was beating down on my head but I reasoned it was all right, because I would find a nice tranquil spot and I would work there. Some Higher Power must have decided that picnic tables were a sinful extravagance, for there was only a bench, no table, and have you ever tried to write leaning on a wooden seat while sitting on the ground? I don’t recommend it. Besides, the ants were far too forward for my liking, peeking into places that are frankly none of their business. Nosy little bastards.
There were lots of lovely birds: yellow warblers, house finches, robins…and one gigantic, absolutely majestic raven soaring overhead. After a while the repeating songs began getting on my nerves. I’m what’s commonly known as high-strung and neurotic as hell, and so it took about a dozen choruses of tweep-twiddle-twiddle-twiddle before my nerves were shot. To shout at them would be cruel, and besides, there were people on the next hill over, who would probably have looked askance at That Loony Over There Shouting At Birds.
I need not tell you that I got absolutely nothing done! Well, that’s not entirely true. I got a page and a half written before the pose of Crouching Housewife, Hidden Author became too painful to maintain and I had to give it up. I put away my notebook, slung my bag over my shoulder and followed the path down to the fen, which this time of year is a sea of wild irises, so beautiful.
There was nowhere to sit, no bench or table. There was a slightly promising flat rock that ultimately disappointed. I was going to have to relocate. I plunged into the woods with all the fervor of a lifelong virgin launching himself through the front door of a bordello; I got lost. What’s more ridiculous is that I know these paths, have walked them for literally years with dogs both past and current, so how in the flaming hell I could get turned around is anybody’s guess, but I did. It was like one of those dreams where you’re in an unfamiliar landscape, turning down first one path and then another, certain that this time you know where you are. I pushed my way through vegetation up to my armpits, tripped over large stones, stepped in bog, and generally made myself hot, miserable, and very angry. It was ridiculous, I thought. I knew where I was. I could see the village of Quidi Vidi. It was right there. Yet somehow I was cursed to wander like the Biblical Hebrews, but without Moses or manna.
After more than an hour stumbling around in a bog, getting slapped in the face by trees and collecting more than my share of snail slime, I gave up. To hell with the path. To hell with finding somewhere to work. I was much too angry to produce anything besides the vilest vitriol. I took an abrupt right turn and crashed through someone’s back garden. I’m sure the sight of me, red-faced and angry, ranting and cursing under my breath, scared the living daylights out of the house’s occupants. I humbly apologize. I’m harmless, really. They even let me out on weekends and national holidays.
I ended my trek by taking the long way round, climbing three flights of incredibly steep stairs set into a hill, and stumbling through what was probably the same damn bog.
And I got nothing done.
I did get myself a pounding headache, though. Next time I will remember my hat. I might even staple it to my head.