What happened to Day 5? you may be asking. Well, I assure you, it happened. It arrived with the same languid charm of days 1-4, the same intensity of work. In fact, you might say it was a red letter day because at the end of it, I declared my book finished. What a fool.

Day 5 brought a brief torrential rain that made me worry about the salamander I’d just seen moments before on the tin roof sloping away from the window.

Did you make it to safety, salamander?

Only to realize on Day 6 that there were two more chapters and a poem that I needed to write. Is that how it is? This writer thing? Never done? Always teasing your brain and never satisfied with the “product?”

One of the daubers is back and they brought a real wasp with them for security. They’re playing with me up here in the writer’s room I temporarily inhabit. One just came in to the back of my head to ruffle up my hair with his tiny wings. Sometimes they go up into the ceiling fan, like teens at the county fair, looking for thrills in the whirring blades, then recover shamefacedly careening drunkenly to land on the beam or on the glass panes in front of me. They know that I regret my massacre of the other day, though karma, always the bitch, sent a black widow spider scurrying across the floor the other night just so I’d know what I’d done.

Day 5 ended with four of us writers in the library playing a giddy bifurcated game of Fact or Crap, (Trivial Pursuit for dummies) while we sported the blue plastic Hedbanz like writerly tiaras.

Day 6 contained the writing of those two missing chapters and the second draft of the poem. The original poem that began the book and which this last one wants to bookend was an expression of a moment of reflection and tenderness about my husband and our diminishing time together. As such, it was emotionally freighted. Is that good or is that bad in a poem? Its counterpart, the epilogue of an exploration for meaning and purpose gestures toward the future, an unknown quantity. I got up from my desk mid afternoon to drive into Franklin, to the Triple Crown Bakery, because festive desserts were needed. This has been an amazing week for which I am so grateful.

Don’t Look Back

Don’t look back lest you trip on the path ahead 
A path of plenty
of purpose and joy
of time to write
to walk and talk
to imagine the future

A path with a lake house on it
or not a lake house 
just any house I’ve filled 
with the prospect
of family and friends and artistry
A path of prosperity
of healthy sage perspectives
of aging gracefully
of no regrets 
of unbridled hope
I am on that path
eyes forward, clear and strong
sensible shoes
open mind
beating heart

written with the blue mud daubers at 
Rockvale Writers Colony, August 14, 2021

Fin The Cat

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