My life of late seemed to be hemmed in by a couple of pending things that I had no control over.
One of them has been the process of becoming a citizen of this wonderful country that I’ve adopted as my own. The first step was in 2004, and the second last one was yesterday. (‘Glacial’ doesn’t even begin to describe this process) From an objective point of view the written citizenship exam wasn’t all that hard. The questions were multiple choice and the right answer was obvious if you knew your stuff. Of the 20 questions, I know I got 18 right, 1 was a process of elimination, and 1 was a straight out 50/50 shot. (I had to get a minimum of 15 right)
The language issue was a shoo-in as well. Canada’s two official languages are English and French and I only had to speak one fluently. (it isn’t French) Now my file will be reviewed by an immigration judge, and in 3 or 4 months I’ll know if I am a citizen.
I didn’t really notice how wound up I was until I got home and had a nap that lasted 8 hours. (I tend to hibernate when I’m sick or stressed)
This afternoon I was straightening up my desk (I reckon the things we think are inanimate come out and play when there’s no-one home and forget to put themselves away before we get back) when I heard the most wonderful sound.
Outside my window on a branch bathed in the bright winter sun a tiny bird was singing his heart out. I knew it was a ‘he’ because the lady bird was nearby pretending to ignore him.
I stopped my fussing and sat back in my chair and listened. My spirit followed the song as the little bird flitted from branch to branch.
Eventually he finished paying his respects to his love and they both moved on to another tree beyond my eyes and ears. With the gift of that beautiful song the last layer of my peace gently fell into its place.
Writing is an art of extremes. We labour over our words with a singlemindedness that nothing can shift. (we wouldn’t do it otherwise) We hold the images we create so tightly to our breast that sometimes we can hardly breathe for the wonder of them.
But when they are beyond us, when the queries, and pitches, and submissions take them away from us, it is a sundering that is absolute.
It’s not easy to walk in balance through these processes. We need to pay attention to the moments that call us to pause, breathe, perhaps to shed a tear or two, then smile to ourselves.