Random Rainy Day Musings

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hAmy Ludwig Vanderwater wrote this weekend about how there are moments we experience that “stick like peanut butter” to the roof of our mouths. These moments and the feelings they spark want to “live on”, and she suggested that writing helps us “hold such scenes close.” One of the things I treasure most about writing is how, when I’m writing regularly, I become more tuned in to those “sticky” moments.

Each day holds so many moments like this–small scenes, experiences, thoughts or conversations that play over and over in my head. They’re easy to overlook or discard, but they are rich with potential. Once you’ve noticed them, to mine them requires time and patience. Time to sit and ponder, to write, to revise. Patience as you live within that moment and struggle to determine its essence, to determine what moved you and how you convey that in your writing. What is it really about?

I experience many such moments when running. Running gives me space for thinking and also gets me outside where there are all sorts of things to notice.  Thoughts and ideas whirl through my head. Some are random while others generate new ideas. What’s the origin of the word autumn? Why do we also call it fall? Why is it the only season with two names? 

Some ideas are sparked by things I see around me. When I ran a few days ago, I came across a small sparrow, lying dead on the edge of the road. Its small feet were curled tight as if still clinging to some branch. How had it died? Had it flown into a car or was it diseased? What flight path brought it to this final destination? I keep seeing the image of that sparrow in my mind. Watching turkeys cross the road, I wonder… which turkey decides when to cross the road and is the same one always first? Or last? Where would I be in the line if I were a turkey?

DSCN1681.jpgThis fall I’ve been intrigued by the bountiful crop of buckeyes along one of my running routes. Often I bend down and pick one up as I run by. Are these seeds or nuts? Do animals eat them? Can I eat them? I find their glossy mahogany sheen irresistible and I smooth my fingers over it as I run. I’m stunned by the beauty hidden within their prickly exterior capsules.  This feels like a metaphor to explore. Beauty hidden within an ugly exterior…how often we miss the hidden side of things… the rewards of time, aging, maturity. What I see or discover or think leads me to new thoughts or questions, which often leads me to research, which helps me to form connections, to see patterns.  I may write something about it. I may not. But jotting about it preserves the moment so that I can revisit it whenever I choose.

DSCN1666 (1).jpgYesterday when I was running, this spider web, drenched in morning dew, caught my eye. After my run, I drove back to try to capture it in a photograph. This is no easy proposition as the camera wants to focus on the background, not the small blot of spider or its silken strands. I did my best, but overall was uninspired by the resulting photos. Then, getting ready to leave, I glanced down next to the web and saw a small cluster of weeds. Some were bejeweled with dew drops. Others had lost their petals and seeds and blazed like stars. Unexpected beauty in the weeds.

Noticing one thing often leads to noticing another. This is true in photography and in writing. Take time to ponder one of those “sticky peanut butter moments”, follow a meandering trail through the forest of words and thoughts. You never know where you’ll end up, but you’re almost always richer for the journey.

DSCN1673 (2).jpg

10 thoughts on “Random Rainy Day Musings

  1. margaretsmn says:

    Your conclusion will stick with me as I walk (I don’t run) tomorrow. I’ve been doing a challenge from Catherine Flynn on Facebook to post one black & white photo a day for 7 days. This has made me notice and notice more. I thought of writing a slice about it but the days are too full of other stuff right now. Your post inspires me to keep the idea for later. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I just finished one of those black and white challenges. It was fun! One of the things I most enjoy about photography is how it slows me down and helps me notice more. Just like writing! Enjoy your walk!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m reading this to my fifth graders tomorrow as motivation to live wide awake for writing ideas! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aspen Laird says:

    Running always gives me such muses as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Recently I’ve found that I write before running and then have more to add when I return. It’s such a great space for thinking and turning things over. Besides, when I’m mentally composing something, I’m not as apt to notice the hills!


  4. lindabaie says:

    It’s a beautiful post, Molly, each part a “wonder” and all of it an inspiration. I used to collect buckeyes when I was a young girl, and they are rare in Colorado, but my daughter just brought me a huge one she found on a recent trip to Seattle. I love the connections you made that took you wandering on, like after the web. That last picture is fabulous! I will save your post to remind me what’s good about writing, and noticing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mbhmaine says:

    Thank you, Linda. Aren’t buckeyes wonderful? I love that your daughter brought you one back from her trip! Did you know there can be up to three buckeyes in one capsule? That’s why some of them have flat sides. When I learned that, I realized that I’d noticed that about buckeyes before (the flat sides), without really noticing it (if you know what I mean). I guess I just assumed it was random shaping. It’s kind of fun to have an explanation for it now.


  6. Amy Warntz says:

    Your slice is a breath of fresh air to me. I’ve been questioning so much lately. You have given me some perspective today, just when I needed it. Thanks for the inspiring words and as always beautiful photography!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Terje says:

    You have an eye for details. You go further – you take the time to record what you noticed outside and discovered in your mind. I enjoyed reading your post. I love your last pic.

    Liked by 1 person

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