CURRENT ISSUE:  OCTOBER 2023

Blowin In

Blowin’ In: Impressions of Spring

If you stand in soil long enough,

and are still enough,

you will become part of the earth.

Bindweed will secure you to the ground.

Dock will soothe the sting of nettles.

Wind will lift your hair.

A golden shawl of wood anemone

will sprawl beneath your

waiting toes.

Welcome the bloom of spring furze.

Carpets of bluebells swathe this earthen altar,

where you are free to witness

the call of the cuckoo,

the cry of the lamb.

(“Notes From an Irish Field” By Susan Mangan)

Blowin In

I have always thought that if you sit still and observe life long enough, something will happen. That something may be dramatic, like a sun setting crimson behind the blue of cold water. Perhaps that something will be subtle, barely perceptible to the unaware eye, such as an ant crawling atop the spring sap that clings to your favorite damson plum tree.

I have incorporated this activity, which I call creative stillness, into my writing class. Young mothers, health care professionals, doctors, lawyers, retired schoolteachers have all sat with me discussing words and ideas. They have also sat silently for extended moments and watched life in real time.

This act of stillness: no talking, no writing, employing only the process of observation was difficult for my writers, at first, until they began to sense a feeling of liberation which only comes when the demands of life cease, for a moment.

There is no right or wrong answer when one is asked to observe. My only stipulation is that one attempts to see life with all of one’s senses and an open heart.

Does Sunrise Smell
Does sunrise smell differently than sunset? Perhaps a metaphor lies hidden in this comparison? Perhaps the scent of wet soil at dawn or the mineral sharpness of a twilight storm will steady the cadence of your breath?

The changing of the seasons calls for creative stillness. Whether it is the slant of morning light in early April that slowly illuminates a row of Chicago brownstones or the flaxen shadows that hover over lake rushes at dawn, the enchantment of change clings to our awareness with delicate pads like a chorus of spring peepers.

The observer cannot call attention to herself. She is not there to compete with the miracle of a gold bud resurrecting from the loping dormancy of a branch. The observer exists only to witness the rebirth, the continuation of life: the lambs in the Irish field at turns bucking with their playmates and mewling in hunger for their mother’s milk.

The observer is only present to dip his winter white feet into the cool rush of a waterfall hidden to all but the stealth presence of a blue heron watching for the flight of a plump salmon.

When spring finally awakens in a meadow covered with a host of bluebells, I want to be there, standing in an Irish field with a cup of tea, and the call of the cuckoo resounding in my ears.

Find this and other Sue Mangan Blowin’ In columns HERE 

Sue Mangan

Sue Mangan

*Susan holds a Master’s Degree in English from John Carroll University and a Master’s Degree in Education from Baldwin-Wallace University. She may be contacted at [email protected]

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