What Do I Need to Know


Hugging a tree in Whistler BC

Hugging a tree in Whistler BC

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.” Charles W. Eliot

Being an avid reader, I read books of many genres, and especially like books about writing. Some of my favorite writing authors are Brenda Ueland, Stephen King, Anne Lamott, Sophy Burnham, Janet Hagberg, Hal Zina Bennett, and Julia Cameron.
In one of her books, Julia Cameron recommended exercises of twenty minute writing on a given topic, one of which was What Do I Need to Know. The instructions, as I remember, were to begin writing on this topic and stop after twenty minutes. Here is what I wrote: Another Exercise from Julia Cameron – Aug. 30, 2002 – 20 minutes

What Do I Need To Know

The grass is crisp beneath my feet as I start my morning walk through the hydro field adjacent to our house. There has not been enough rain, yet tiny blue flowers grow out of the dry soil. Sunflowers hang their heads over a wire fence in rest or death, I’m not sure which. The fence has become their prop, where once they stood free, faces upturned to their namesake.

And I hug a tree. Someone could be watching from a window, but that‘s okay. I need that hug. Picking my way through piles of doggie dirties left by those who refuse to stoop and scoop, I come to the paved path.

The air is sweet this morning, which prompted this walk in the first place. I hug another tree at the other side of my walk and turn around for the return trip.

I see the faded day moon laid back against a perfectly blue, cloudless sky and the morning sun is beckoning the artificial hue from my hair.

I recall a walk from the past; same time of day, over thirty-five years ago. The air was sweet that day, too, but it was the need for a smoke that prompted that walk. Dishes in the sink, kids at school, husband at his daily toil, and I was out of cigarettes.

Mission accomplished, the return walk from the store that day was a beauty. The sun filtered through the trees and the air was still. I felt a sense of awe, gratitude and love. I think it was very spiritual; felt it but didn’t know it.

As I neared the front door of our house, I wished I didn’t have to open the purpose of my walk, that package of cigarettes. But I did. I lit up and got on with my day.

What do I need to know? Spirit was working in me back then, but I didn’t know it. Now I do, and have quit smoking since that time. What do I need to know? I need to know that, indeed, all things are possible, and I must keep on keeping on with my spiritual life.

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