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Text and Photo by Jessica Lamarind


For years, I’ve tried to murder my inner writer, to chart my life in a cardboard realm of control freakdom. I broke Joni Mitchell’s rule: “You’re bound to lose if you let the blues get you scared to feel.” The metaphor of my life became one of unremitting boulders pushed up the hill. I’ve felt too heavily the weight of the world on my shoulders. But now I relinquish you, Sisyphus and Atlas. My writer self is not dead; she’s just been catatonic from too many doses of a poison known as shame. I’ve seen her peeking out around corners when I started taking online classes this year. She gets a little thrill from sneaking in

alliteration while answering questions on Russia’s response to climate change. She freaks out while trying to write a routine paper on a documentary about the Inuit because she just can’t find the right poetic words to describes how time moves in a non-linear fashion. So I will un-bound and un-gag her, this writer self; I will let her roam free again. But judge me not, she’s kinda rusty. . .

Yesterday I was cloistered in the forest. My bones vibrated with sacred silence. Then rejoice! Awakened by the miracle of a bird’s melody. I flirted with wood nymphs, who seduced me with freshly sodden pine. I discovered hidden corners of contemplation. I battled the inner demons of insecurity—much like E.T.—by turning on my heart light. And I decided to stop breaking my own heart. The dark cloud that has hung over my head for too many a year? It began to dissipate as soon as I beheld the sunlight cavorting through snow-crystallized trees.

Yesterday in the forest, I was reminded by Teryl, my dear teacher and friend, of Mary Oliver’s instructions for living a life: “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” This is how I aspire to live my life again. If we must be quarantined, I intend to be cloistered instead. To listen with my bones to the silence of my soul, to be enchanted with gratitude by the beauty of nature. And yes, to open myself up again and share it.

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