Saturday, October 2, 2010


I like traveling as the crow flies. It has always bothered me to loop 360 degrees onto an off-ramp to exit the freeway, or to start going east to get west. So when I moved to southern Redding last month, I found myself a tad annoyed every day. The Interstate-5 exit I take to school is south of my little cabin. Which is fine, except that school is north.

I am the first to admit how ridiculous it is to waste thought on this wee bit of backtracking. And yet . . . .

Then I spent last week sick, hardly driving anywhere. To keep from going crazy I worked on an upcoming writing workshop. (Wordsmithing is right up there with lemon and honey as a balm for the common cold.) As I was gathering and drafting bits of writing advice, I wrote a suggestion I called, “Land the plane.” It’s about starting a poem far away to get close. Some topics are so big, they require a bit of navigation. Commercial planes begin their descent over a hundred miles from the airstrip. A poem about love might start with a glass of water. Then, like the plane, the poem readjusts, and might approach from the south to align with its northern destination.

Not unlike my daily commute.

I am deciding that my cabin’s location is a blessing. Every day I get to start out opposite to my intended direction—a pilgrimage in perspective adjustment. Every day, I have extra minutes for prayer, pause, or even to drink my water and begin a poem. Maybe even a poem about love.