My writing this year has been like flying. The question is, do I fly with it? Do I settle on its back, grab handfuls of feathers and ride the currents of winds I don’t know and can’t trust? When I think of flying, I don’t think of machines: aeroplanes, microlights, not even kite boarders or kites. I think of being lifted, floating, spreading myself onto the wind – open to it.
But the currents aren’t always tropical breezes that carry me dreaming – placid, complacent, content – to a place of palm trees and sandy shores.
Storm petrels fly too, on hard shafts of air. Their wings are wide, their bodies muscular, they scream into the wind, dive from it into icy waters for food. White scraps against a cold white sky, they survive.
My writing – the thought of my writing – flies on different currents. I’d like to set it on course for the tropics. I’d like the gentle balm of soft winds, easy currents, gentle uplifts. But I can’t choose the air that chooses me, can’t stop thoughts from flying in squawking on icy winds.
Polar reaches, dark choppy seas, birds screaming into the air. Flying isn’t as easy as it looks. But I’d still rather not buy the plane ticket. I’d still rather wait to see which wind will lift me up.