Finding Connectivity – the Commute To and From Work

So, I am in day two of NaWriMo (my version with the “Novel” aspect removed), and I am fairly pleased with where I have managed to get in a single day. In case you have not noticed, I am also posting new poetry pieces here as well – also a part of the writing process for me. The first one was Somewhere Someone is Unaware of Experiencing, and the second one The World is Watching, was posted earlier this morning. All of this – the poems, the writing here in the blog, the writing of another project, the Bardic Gwers work I am doing – is focused on me getting better as a writer. A secondary focus, but just as important, is getting me to rekindle my creative fires. Finding ways to not only look at the world around me, but also learning to write about it in a more creative way.

One thing I am quite blessed with is a short drive to work. I live eleven miles from my work place. My drive is six to seven minutes in length. And the best part is that the road is a small farm-to-market road that bisects five different cow pastures. That means that I get to see cows nearly everyday that I drive to work and then from work back to home. Every year, I watch the pattern of farm life happen just outside of my windshield.

I get to see the female cows when they are plump with their unborn calves. They waddle slowly through the fields or stand like giant black statues at the fence line, their rear-ends pointed towards the street. At times, I have wondered if I was driving between a potential 21-gun salute that could go very wrong for me and my truck. So far, in two years, I have yet to see a lifting tail which could signal either a live load getting ready to be fired out, or a flatulent warning shot to be sent over my truck’s bonnet for coming to close to the herd.

However, once the bay calves are born, the fun begins. The early days of the little calf are spent moving unsteadily through the field on shaky, weak legs. These first days are so cute to watch, that I find myself slowing down from my usual fifty-plus miles per hour to just over thirty to catch even a short glimpse of these magnificent little creatures. In a few short months, these same calves can be seen pacing the truck as I drive along the road that borders their fence line. Fast little cows too. And if I roll down the window, I can hear them crying out in their young cow voices, as if they think I am the guy driving an ice cream truck selling warm pommes frites (french fries) on a cold German night.

The road I drive along is maintained by the county, though that might be a bit of an understatement. This road is full of potholes, washed out pavement, and is barely a vehicle and a half wide. With no center line, everyone drives down the center of the road until oncoming traffic gets encountered. Then it becomes a dance of death, particularly when two large pickup trucks met. I drive a Ford F-150, which is a HUGE vehicle for me. However, here in the back-forty of Texas, I am essentially driving a matchbox vehicle. Passing oncoming traffic means that someone is going to put their passenger-side wheels in the dirt on the side of the road. In that small strip is a ditch that seems to always be hidden by tall grasses. One small steering mistake has the potential to take the truck and push it through the farmer’s three-wire fence that holds in the aforementioned cows. And I have not even mentioned the many, many Turkey-buzzards that are constantly in the area. There’s a potential for issues if you are looking at the cows and their baby calves. Well, perhaps the issue is not yours, since I am the idiot that is usually looking at the cows while driving.

There is also the numerous trees, plains, tall grasses, and other plant life that also shows the turning of the Wheel. Or in the case of Texas, the schedule of the rainfall in the area. Among all the browning plant life are smaller animals that live wild and free. Mornings can have rabbits running in front of the truck as they are frightened out of their hiding places in the previously mentioned ditch area at either side of the road. Occasionally, a fox will dart across the road, but that is usually in the evening – and much closer to dusk. That is a sight not usually seen unless I am working late. Being an hourly employee, that rarely ever happens. And then there are the feathered friends that I see everywhere. The crows, the grackles, and the very occasionally raven. All of these birds I consider to be brothers and messengers of a sort. I pay very close attention when these are around to see if I am missing something or doing something that might not be right. In a manner of speaking, these guys serve as a collective Jiminy Cricket for me. And yes, I feed them at the birdbath in my backyard every night.

The night sky for me is a lot clearer than it was for me back down in Corinth. I am an hour’s drive north of where I used to live. There is still light pollution up here near the Texas/Oklahoma border, but nearly as much was down there closer to the metromess known as Dallas/Fort Worth. Every clear night, I try to spend out in the backyard – even if just for a mere ten minutes. Being able to look up at the stars and the moon at night is a joy I hope to never lose.

I am all about finding, exploring, examining and discovering connections to my local area. There are Spirits of Place aplenty here. While many do not seem to care whether humans are here or not, some are interested enough to take a look from time to time. At one time, this area was home to many of the First Nations peoples. Their connection to Crow and Coyote – among others – was strong. Some of that resonates here for me. I may be white in pigmentation, but the color of my skin means nothing to the Gods. I walk with Coyote by side, Crow on my shoulder, and Fliadhas at my other side whispering in my ear. Each of Them are a part of my journey, and I enjoy a unique relationship with each one in turn. And I find Them in nearly every setting I spend time examining, exploring and experiencing.

I truly belong where I am on this Path. And I am lucky enough to spend time continuing along it. /|\

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As I Write, I Grow

I am not a writer; though I would say that my writing has gotten better the more I have done it. At least I would like to think so. What I am finding out, is that writing is a lot like working rituals, playing guitar, or nearly anything else that one might choose to do so. The more you do it, the better you are at it. And the more you work with it, such as editing after a period of writing, the better you can make it sound to the human ear or read to the human eye.

Oddly enough, this month – November – is the National Novel Writing Month (or something like that). I have changed its acronym for me to NaWriMo – for National Writing Month. I am participating, but am not really writing a book. My word count will be a culmination of my blog posts (which I have a schedule for these), my writings for my Bardic Gwers studies during the month, and some preliminary work I am doing towards a potential published work (though that’s not a completely set thing at the moment). But the point is that I am writing – and doing so with determination and dedication. And that, in my mind, is important.

I have always looked and listened in awe of people who play the guitar. The way their fingers fret the chords, the manner in which they pick the strings to get that “right” note. I listen intently to the way they make their instrument “sing” and feel the emotion they put into their playing. I also feel pangs of jealousy, as I wish I could do the same. And I’ve always been under the impression that you found a good guitarist by just placing the instrument in their hands. The guitar would then magickally start playing wonderfully. The stark reality is a lot different than I realized.

It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of practice, and a lot of determination to play an instrument. Yes, there’s talent involved in all of that, but an individual can learn to play the guitar nicely without that level of talent that turns you into, say, a Stevie Ray Vaughn, or a Jimi Hendrix or Randy Rhoads. The key, I have been told by many guitar playing friends, is drive and determination. Not just to learn the instrument, but to learn to play within the rhythm structure of a song. The talent aspect is what allows players to improvise off of what they have learned – adding to the sound. Or creating their own sound from thin air. But before all of that happens, there’s the basics.

I am finding that writing follows the same pattern. To learn to write, you have to – well – write. And a lot of what you write in the beginning will look like pure shit later on in life. I still have papers I wrote back in 2000 and 2001 during my Bachelor’s degree. And I was not good. I managed to get information into my paper, I learned to cite passages from other writers and sources correctly, but rarely did I postulate or theorize. My writing style, if I may say so, was dull and uninspiring. But then, most technical writing tends to have that characterization.

Even if you go back in this blog, and read the stuff I was writing previously, you will find a plodding style of writing. And you will find a lot of errors in what I have written. Proofing blog posts is still a tough thing for me to do. But I have been learning over time. My writing may only be a bit better than it was before; however, it IS getting better. Why?  Because I spend more time doing it. Granted, my sentence structure could probably use a lot of help, and I will never achieve a writing status of any major (or even minor) author. It is really the process of writing every day that helps me.

See, doing something every day develops one’s style – which I will theorize changes over time. The more you do something, the more comfortable you get doing it. Then aspects of it become second-nature. Your mind learns to write with a rhythm to the keyboard. Just like your mind learns to toe-tap to “Anytime” by Journey when it plays on the radio.

The same can be said for doing ritual work, magick work, or any other aspect of your spiritual life. You want to get better at leading rituals? Do them. Do them badly. Learn from what did not work. Learn from what did. Adapt as necessary. You want to get better at magick? Do it. Do it badly. Learn from what didn’t work. Learn from what did. Adjust as needed. Want to learn guitar? Do what I am doing. Play badly. Play badly, OFTEN. Learn from it. Adapt as needed. But above all of that, have the drive and desire to get better.

So, why do I write the blog? To get my thoughts down in some form. I do go back and read the earlier blog posts here. And I do adjust my thinking on things from time to time. And I do post about those adjustments. But mostly, I hope that someone will get something out of what I am writing. I’m a solo Pagan. I’m a Druid. As reluctant as I am to say it, I’m a Priest. All of that means something to me. Deeply. If what I write resonates within someone else, and provides a potential pathway for them to grow in their own Spirituality; then as far as I am concerned, the blog has served its purpose. Even if it is only one person.

To achieve that singular goal, I write. And as I write more, I become more articulate in how I express my thoughts in the written format. In other words, I grow. For me, the writing process documents where I have been, where I am, and where I hope to go. In a manner of speaking, writing in the blog writes a part of the history of me. But it is only a part of that history. My personal journals document other aspects of my life as well. Taken together, I am slowly creating a History book about me.