By Kim Byer
I’ve spent most of my weekend changing a closet filled with turtlenecks and boots into one filled with tunics and sandals. This is my rite of spring: turning my clothes palette from black, gray, navy and brown to white, pink, tan and turquoise. And as I fold one last coat into a lumpy square and place it in the cedar chest, I complete my ceremony.
My chores are over. It’s time to write.
“Not so fast,” says my inner voice. “You need space!”
And so I clear my writing desk. I throw away torn tickets; I stack magazine clippings; I roll strands of used Christmas ribbon into small golden nests. I uncover an expanse of waxed, wooden possibility where I place my laptop. From my desk, I can see my entire backyard. The peach-plum tree is in full regalia, its giant arms waving in the wind, vivid with pink and magenta flowers. It demands my attention. After all, its parade only lasts for two weeks.
I walk outside—I know, I’ll write by hand.
I drag my chair across the lawn and my dog barks, wanting to participate in this unfamiliar game. My inner voice sinks inside the wake of a small plane flying above in the clear, afternoon sky. Lining the wires, the birds are chatty with travel gossip. Nearby, a lawn mower crawls across the new grass, moaning like a monster. My inner voice, agitated, yells, “You need quiet!”
By the grace of God or muse or some cosmic, mystic force powerful enough to quiet dogs, birds, airplanes and inner voices, I forget my excuses and settle into my writing. I scribble in cursive, my thoughts tumbling onto a blank page like Tinkertoys. I catapult sentences through the air with arrows, lines and sweeping X’s. Then, as the soft, beaming sun is slowly replaced by dancing, silver shadows, I circle several handfuls of cogent paragraphs and smile.