Here’s an idea that really works for me when I need to rev up my creative motor: I find a way to immerse myself for a while in a different creative medium. I might go see a dance performance or a musical event — some artistic endeavor that seems connected in some way to what I’m working on, but only indirectly.
That’s how I found myself sitting this Sunday in a beautiful old church in my hometown enjoying a lovely performance by the chorale group Schola Cantorum on Hudson called “Our Mother Earth: Canopy of Life.” The theme of the evening was “trees” and it blended beautiful images of trees with music and poetry. How wonderful it was to ponder the many ways that poets, musicians, and photographers have captured the majesty of these mighty earthbound, sky soaring beings through words, sound, and images. Consider the familiar poem, “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer:
“I think that I shall never see
poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is
prest against the earth’s
sweet flowing breast….”
I’ve read this poem on the page, but hearing it sung in rounds and set to music added such richness and depth to its words: Suddenly, they seemed three dimensional, almost floating in the air. And then there was “The Ash Grove” — an old English folksong which I hadn’t heard since I was a girl at camp:
“Down yonder green valley where
When Twilight is Fading I pensively rove.
Or at the bright noontide in solitude
Amid the dar shades of the lonely
This lovely, haunting melody of love found and lost among ash trees reminded me of the power of words to sanctify even the saddest and loneliest of experiences. Write on.