And the day came when the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom. Anais Nin


"Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake." - Wallace Stevens

Can it be this simple? I can hear you say, "No way!" I get it.

I've been considering the amount of time we spend on conflict and misunderstandings. It seems right to count the hours spinning inside our minds when we examine it this way, then that. We try to frame the words another way, decipher facial expressions, or dissect an email or text. What do they mean by that? How would I have said it? How should I respond? It's exhausting.

As I was pondering this I came upon the words of Wallace Stevens. It is easy to imagine the connections between our emotions and nature. Studies have shown that nature photographs conjure strong emotional responses. As well, think of the last time you experienced a strong feeling while you were in a "natural" setting. For me, the sound of geese flying above provokes a strong sense of joy. Can you think of your own example?

I wonder if a deliberate action to sort out the truth in something personal (work, relationship, goals, etc.) would seem less tedious if I did it in a natural setting. I thought back to the times the beach or forest was the specific destination for my poetry writing. There is a spot at the Columbia River that I drive to when I'm upset or confused. Perhaps Stevens knew something when he chose the word, truth. When something is upsetting or confusing it is usually because I have masked the truth.

It takes clarity to see the truth. It takes more clarity to understand what you see. Was Stevens leading us around the lake as a metaphor for the process? Was he envisioning the open air, wide expanse, and soothing sounds of water as a way to break down complexities? Was he telling us that without distractions we can find what we seek?

As any poet will tell you, lines that mean one thing to the writer may resonate differently with the reader. Mr. Stevens wrote a line that connected the significance of truth with a natural setting. This makes complete sense to me. The next time I'm seeking the truth it would be wise for me to get out of my usual setting and into a natural setting. It's a good thing I live in the beautiful Pacific NW where a drive in any direction will take me there.

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