A Good Cure for Restlessness

13 01 2014

It always happens every year, that irksome restlessness that comes after a period of too much stimulation. It seems to take me forever to calm down after all the excitement of Christmas when the house bulged with guests and rocked with music and merriment, and our bellies protruded with too much gourmet food.

The inner turmoil goes something like this.  “I really need to thoroughly clean the house now that everyone has left.  I’ve got to get working on my spring show of 101 small watercolours.  Maybe I should participate in the summer Muskoka Arts and Crafts show with my cards, after all.  That means painting at least six cards a days.  I’d like to start blogging again.  And, oh, Sarah left her cello here.  Should I take cello lessons?”

So, I end up doing nothing.  I am suspended like a hummingbird before a feeder, wildly whirling my wings but going nowhere, then, erratically sipping at this feeder and dashing off to that flower.  No matter how many firm talks I give myself about focus and self-discipline, and no matter how many noble quotes I read about success, I just can’t seem to get very far on any project.

Matters came to a climax this afternoon when I found myself rarely alone for a few hours on a Sunday. It was the perfect time to start blogging again.  A full pot of hot rooibos tea before me, and a blank Microsoft page open, I waited eagerly for the gates to creativity to swing open.   But, they didn’t.   I hadn’t a clue what to write about, just like I haven’t had a clue, since Christmas, what to paint on the enormous stack of blank canvasses in the corner of my studio.  With each passing minute, the anxiety increased.   It was time to take a walk.

My quiet country road weaves through the forest and traces the rugged contours of the Algonquin Highlands.   I couldn’t help noticing that a raccoon, a grouse, a mouse and a fox had, each, gone for a walk not long before me. Why, even a car had made a new tread pattern in the snow part way up the road before the driver lost his nerve and turned around. The top, wispy branches of the naked maples were gently sweeping the clouds to the side so I could enjoy glimpses of the startling blue sky.   A playful breeze pinched my cheeks and rattled the dry beech leaves clustered tenuously on saplings.  Nervous nuthatches fluttered noiselessly in the branches while a hairy woodpecker hammered relentlessly at a tree trunk until it offered up a bug.

I noticed, when I sat down again to my cold tea and computer, that the gates to creativity had mysteriously opened in my absence.  Ideas and words flowed easily and I was able to write.

For me, a brisk walk in nature is the best cure for just about anything.

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9 responses

13 01 2014
Jean Ankenmann

I love your writing and immensely agree with the walk to cure many restless moments. Let take a walk together Elizabeth!!
Jean

14 01 2014
ejohnsonart

Thanks Jean. Indeed, let’s go. I’ll phone.

13 01 2014
Sheila britton

Such beautiful imagery…thanks Elizabeth and Happy New Year!!

14 01 2014
ejohnsonart

Thank you, Sheila. A very happy and healthy new year to you, too.

14 01 2014
feistyredhair

Wonderful. I’m so happy you’re blogging again! I want to go for a walk now, except I can’t… I’m stuck waiting for the little person snoozing upstairs to wake up!

14 01 2014
ejohnsonart

Take him with you when he wakes up. It feels good to be writing again.

14 01 2014
feistyredhair

We went to the mailbox after picking up his brother. It was a lovely walk, which turned into a screaming match because I was prodding him to keep moving. Not as relaxing as your walk, I’m guessing.

24 01 2014
jane nigh

Oh Elizabeth, I laughed out loud at your thoughts of focus and self-discipline and noteable quotes of success, etc. I’m a bit like a hummingbird too, hovering at this and that. Somehow though we get things done – lots of things. For example your house at Christmas was amazingly decorated. How did you get that done as well as prepare the house for 16 guests?
Someone said to me this week Jane, be gentle with Jane. I pass that on to you Elizabeth. Be gentle with yourself my dear. You are precious.

25 01 2014
ejohnsonart

Funny, I’ve been told that many times by people. I guess we expect a lot from ourselves. Thanks for your comment.

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