Tuesday, July 23, 2013

surrendered openness

To lie fallow is a gift. We don't really know how to do it. Rather we are done by it or undone by it. The moments we are allowed to be in that condition are times of gratitude. It is from these that our freedom comes. It is where authentic being exists. Any fruitfulness arises from that surrendered openness.

-  Gunilla Norris

While I had many plans for the summer, my new plan is this: to lie fallow. And it is a gift. To say to yourself, just sit, gather, wait.

I had planned to be working all this month while our daughter was in summer school (she's finished this Friday - gym class) on the second draft of my Transactions with Beauty. And then - instead, it was a month of the Bell's Palsy - only a trace of this left - and along with it the strange flu virus, and also, this kind of bone crushing exhaustion. Mainly, I'm just left with the tiredness which I think will also pass soon. I'm lucky to have a schedule that often allows for an afternoon nap - and these have been like mini comas - dreamfilled and loggy and so deep.

I've been thinking about what it means to lie fallow. Then found this quotation by Steinbeck:

“You're going to pass something down no matter what you do or if you do nothing. Even if you let yourself go fallow, the weeds will grow and the brambles. Something will grow.”

John Steinbeck

Which brought me back to a link I shared on Facebook yesterday of a photo essay titled Weeds on   More Intelligent Life.

So even though I'm letting nothing happen, I'm admittedly hoping for a daisy or two to magically appear.

Meanwhile, while I lie fallow, deepdreaming, my garden is lush after all the recent rain. The vine I hide behind to do my writing/thinking/journaling/reading is having maybe its best year yet.

I've also decided this. I feel fragile. I need Alone. I need to think some things through. My next book for example. My previous one(s). I'm not going to leave this space behind the vine very frequently, except for work.

My work right now is to lie fallow, to surrender to that. I'm going to let the weeds grow for a while. I liked the part in the photo essay where the author talks about the 'repair role' of weeds. I'm going to remain open to weeds.

My garden is full of weeds but I think I'm clever enough at making sure they don't end up in the photos.

So, the photos then:


  1. Thanks for the tour of your garden. May your seclusion in that beautiful space be exactly what you need.

  2. Your garden is so very beautiful.
    It sounds like you have been very sick, and fallow sounds like the perfect thing right now.

  3. this series of photos from your garden are so lovely. To lie fallow is a gift -- yes, truly especially for those with a purpose in life. And also love that line from Steinbeck, "something will grow". What great words to bear in mind and to keep as reference.

  4. Just catching up with your blog after a couple of weeks away trying fallow on for size, and now reading your post about same. "My work right now is to lie fallow." And work it is. Who'd have thunk it? Glad, once again, to have company, Shawna. And glad to hear that you are feeling better.

  5. Thanks everyone, for the visits, and words. So true - this fallow business IS work! And yes, so good to have company here.


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