June Awe and Gratitude

Poetry is the language your soul would speak if your soul could speak.
— Michael Delp

So long, June. Thank you! I’ll remember this one for many, many reasons, but here are a few highlights. I spent four glorious days in the middle of June at the Interlochen Writers Conference while the final copies of my book sat on the doorstep of my unoccupied home.

I didn’t plan it that way. “Invincible Summers” was supposed to be released the end of May. But as I thought about and worked on pieces of my new book with the enthusiastic novel workshop facilitator and cheerleader, Mary Kay Zuravleff (read her excellent novel, “Man Alive”) I knew that celebrating a book release with other writers even without physically having said book in my hands, was the best world to be in (and Mary Kay passed out chocolate!!!). Otherwise I would have been alone when I opened the box from the publisher, held the brilliant blue cover binding the words I know backwards and forwards, then letting out a euphoric sigh at the birthed thing in my hands.

Writers work alone in the tunnels of the imagination with nary a light to guide their way. Being immersed among so much talent lends itself to awe and gratitude for inclusion. Crap, I need to work harder! was the take away most days for me. And, thank you, creatives, for being so happy for me that I finally have a book in the world. I couldn’t have asked for a better tribe to laugh and cry with!

The month also brought my daughter’s dream to fruition. I watched K and her husband work toward creating their own living and breathing lavender farm. Like writing, from the depths of dreams and schemes, K and M made the vision a reality. With the help of others (it always takes a village—either a writing one or groups of family and friends), the tarp was laid, holes dug, and 3,000 plants went into the ground. The first bunches of lavender (“Phenomenal”—how apropos, right?) were harvested this past week and bundled for sale. I’m in awe and gratitude again—this time for the human being my daughter has evolved into—and the way she bursts open every morning to tackle that four-decades-long To-Do List her and M have devised. I see her life clock ticking and her mind reeling. And I couldn’t help but think of K when Michael Delp (the poetry facilitator at Interlochen) read this poem by Mary Oliver:

The Plum Trees

Such richness flowing through the branches of summer and into the body, carried inward on the five rivers!

Disorder and astonishment rattle your thoughts and your heart cries for rest but don’t succumb, there’s nothing so sensible as sensual inundation.

Joy is a taste before it’s anything else, and the body can lounge for hours devouring the important moments.

Listen, the only way to tempt happiness into your mind is by taking it into the body first, like small wild plums.

My awe and gratitude were in abundance at the book release party where family and friends came out to share in celebrating “Invincible Summers.” I tried to thank everyone on my “list” without crying, but it never works that way for me. Tears flowed. Salty ones. As Oliver wrote, “Joy is a taste before it’s anything else…” Oh, the joy that was June.