Recently I acquired a pair of crutches due to a simple injury. They will be my constant companions for the next few weeks.
As a writer, its still possible to continue working but still life slows down immeasurably when every journey up or down stairs takes a lot of time and when carrying things from one place to another is an effort. Daily routines of walking the dog and swimming are no longer possible. Whole hours are freed up with their absence as well as not driving. Life gets pared back, is slower, simpler. There is time to sit, to think, there is just more time.
And when you live this pared back life, you might just find yourself thinking, like I do, about what William Stafford calls ‘the thread’ in his wonderful poem, The Way It Is, the opening lines of which are:
‘There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
When time moves slowly, when we are quiet, we see the thread more clearly: that thing that drives you, that you really love to do, where your passion is. It might be writing, it might be spending time in the great outdoors, it might be fixing up old motorbikes, making your own clothes. You’ll probably know this thread because when you pursue it, you feel centered and content and when you don’t, you always have the nagging feeling that something important is missing.
It could be anything at all but it is usually the thing you would love to focus on if you just had more time.
The poem concludes with the lines:
‘Nothing you can do can stop time’s unfolding
You don’t ever let go of the thread.’
So try writing about what it is in your life that you must never let go of? What do you need to do to focus on it more? What is stopping you?