The day is May first, May Day, 2011, and Sunday the closing day for the 19th Annual Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference. This year’s theme of Blaze the Write Trail was especially relevant in that, today, May Day, is a time even in contemporary life when farmers and ranchers sow the seeds that feed us all. The PPWC is also that time for planting seeds of hope, practice and experience as writers blaze the write trail. Transitioning back to the real world after an inspiring conference is always a challenge, but it was this link to May Day as well as some unexpected blue heron animal medicine that gave me the energy to blaze on down the trail.
Back home after the conference, I take an afternoon walk with my dogs to assimilate all the great information from the past three and a half days. Although I have loved the imagery of the Wild West and Blazing the Trail, I think of this walk like the yogic shavasana or a prayerful meditation - a quiet, restful practice that allows body, mind and soul to integrate all that has been tried.
I see with new vision the hulking 14,000 foot image of Pikes Peak and take to heart the bigger message it represented during the conference. On this May Day, snow starts to fall, drawing my attention back to my immediate path that is ablaze with spring tulips of yellow, red, orange and even a clashing pink. As the snowflakes come to rest on the flowers and the ground I think how they represent the abundant moisture that was shared at the conference, helping to water and sprout inspirational and imaginative seeds.
Some notable snowflake moments came when I shared lunch and conversation with Mark Cohen, blogger of From the Left to the Right (I am right to left). I was hoping to find a blog resource and here was Mark to help coach me along. Within the hour, I found myself conversing on the other side of the political spectrum with Dick Johnston, author of The Taylor Ranch War: Property Rights Die. I was so pleased to have so much talent and diversity under one roof. Deanna Knippling’s Saturday presentation on How to Fail and Keep on Writing was also just the right dousing to keep me going. The PPWC lives up to its reputation as the friendliest writer’s conference with its great workshops, fellow authors from around the country, and truly friendly agents and editors.
Back on the trail, my Aussie girl dog cops a squat and looks up at me with her deep amber eyes. Her unique eye color is the same as the blue heron and it was the unexpected witness of this bird’s flight out my 8th floor hotel room, during a moment of melancholy suitcase stuffing, that also helped me to move ahead as a writer. I have witnessed the flight of the solitary heron from the ground many times, but having one fly into my vision at eye-level was a new and moving perspective, as if I was flying right there with it.
According to Ted Andrews, author of Animal Speak, herons are great messengers in the spring and represent strengths like balance, self-determination and self-reliance. Herons often are loners that stand out in their uniqueness and have the ability to take advantage of events the average person would overlook. Ironically, they gather in the spring to breed, much like we all gathered at the PPWC, and then move on again following some innate wisdom. Herons may be seen as dabblers but truly they are adept at being a “jack of all trades,” leading a very unstructured life in a stable way that befuddles others.
The conference was a great opportunity to glean resources for becoming a more productive writer. The wisdom and camaraderie of the past days promise to keep me on the trail. Ride on, write on, right on fellow herons--oops, writers!
BIO: Melissa Marts finds her muse in nature and is fortunate to call Colorado home. Her goal is to write 750 words per week which gets her to publish two to four personal essays yearly. She is actively working to publish her first YA eco-thriller that features teenage rock climbers battling unscrupulous developers and acid-mine runoff.