Creating In The Cold
Last night, I was glad to make it to bed. It had been a day of single-digit temperatures, packing boxes, moving bookshelves, and a hundred other things that demanded my attention. From work to my five year old, I was finally done adulting for the day. I could turn my attention to my husband and spend some quality time enjoying his warmth and his embrace.
Long after, as we lay wrapped up in snug blankets and half dozing in love, I began to hear something. Was it my son, talking in his sleep? A car alarm going off across the street?
"It's in the woods." My husband whispered in my ear.
I came back to the outside world a bit more, mentally stepping out our back door and turning all my senses to the woods just behind our house.
Hearing it again, it sounded a bit like a mourning dove. I knew that would be impossible due to the freezing cold and deep winter conditions. And then it hit me.
"It's an owl!" I whispered back with delight. He smirked at me.
"You act like you've never heard an owl before!" He gently teased.
"Not this deep into winter, I don't think." I mused, trying to remember past winters. He got up to get us a snack and brought in my laptop. Immediately, I searched the owls in our area and began pulling up audio files as I kept listening to the song from outside.
As I researched, I began hearing one owl near to the house being answered by one further out in the woods. There were two and they were talking!
An article came up explaining that the Great Horned Owl begins mating and nesting in our area in January! They were lovers just like us!
The female is larger than the male, as a rule, with the great horned owls.
Pulling up an audio file, the clip matched real life. I read on that Great Horned Owls reach two feet in length and can have a wingspan of three to five feet across. Known to be the most aggressive and powerful bird in North America, a three or four pound mature adult can exert up to 500 pounds per square inch of force from its talons and has been known to kill a human!
After these two nocturnal lovers hooted a while, they stopped. Perhaps they, too, found a snack, just as my own husband had brought to me. It made me think of the timing, and how un-natural it seemed for birds to be out thinking of starting a family in this bitter cold.
Why start something so precious as a clutch of eggs in the frozen dead of winter? Yet, the articles insisted that a female could keep eggs at near human body temperature even when the surrounding winter weather was below thirty degrees!
It got me to thinking about us creatives.
Now Is Not The Time
Do we sometimes wait for everything to be 'just right' before we start creating?
Should we sometimes explore a new creative venture even before the situation around us is optimal?
Could we still enjoy creating something when things around us don't make it feel as if we can support such a new project?
The owls have given me a lot of food for thought. With my own precious one 'incubating' to come in just a few short weeks, I realized that it's not so un-natural to incubate something during winter, which seems like an inopportune time. Could I start incubating some new creative ideas now, even with so much else going on in my world? Should I wait until a more optimal time, or just delve in now?
Strike while the iron is hot, they say. The Muse doesn't only blow in a creative's ear when the time is perfect for the creative, but for the Muse itself. Even baby steps on a new project, story or idea can be a new driving inspiration to your day.
Do you have five or ten minutes before bed to ponder or brainstorm on your new idea? Could you set aside five or ten minutes in the morning during a commute or after the kids are on the bus and jot down some ideas or sketches?
How about that daily time on Facebook or Instagram - could you cut out ONE browsing session a day and take that time to turn OFF YouTube and turn ON your next creative project?
It's true that it's winter and we're using a lot of our mental energy to 'stay warm' as it were. Our days might be full of school projects or upcoming auctions, birthdays and cleaning. We engage so much mind power getting through our 'to-do' list that, by the time we sit down, we just want to do something passive, something that can let our brain rest. We're tired of #Adulting.
I've Been There!
Yet, I've also gone to sleep some nights thinking of all the great stuff I wanted to do for ME that I didn't get to do because of that 'to-do' list. Could one load of laundry have waited ten minutes for me to brainstorm? Could one pile have stayed un-sorted one more day so I could have sculpted some play-doh with my child and entertained some of my creative energy instead?
Nobody wants to lay in a hospital, at the end, and wish they'd gotten more dusting done!
I hope I hear the owls again tonight. Even if I don't, I'll be thinking of them, out in our woods. And, by hook or by crook, I hope to show up for myself and be writing in my journal before bed, should I hear them out there...creating together!
What about you?
Do you find yourself 'running out of time' in a day and placating yourself by saying "I'll do it later." only to realize that later never comes for you?
Is it time to make yourself a creative priority on your daily 'to-do' list?