'Prepare to be immersed in the heat and vibrancy of Florida's natural world, full of such sensual detail that to read it is to breathe it in.' -Jo Shapcott [review of Greyhound Night Service]

A Studio in the Forest

It has taken awhile to settle into my writing residency here at Hambidge. But after speaking to other Fellows who say the same thing, I am beginning to think it is the slowing down and disconnection from the rest of the world that takes so much time to cure. 

Already at the end of the first week here, I look back on my arrival and the three days that followed as if I was in a different frame of mind altogether. That me is flustered and in a rush, she’s worried about replying to emails that would otherwise be left hanging, sending texts to say ‘hello from here’ when I wasn’t really here yet at all.

A week later my time has slowed right down. I’ve given up on the two mile round trip just to get wifi, I’ve given up on signals and communication of any kind. I spend days surrounded by only the sounds of the forest; I look at trees and clouds and snow out of the huge windows facing east in my cabin. I hear the tap of snowflakes against the panes, somewhere far off a chainsaw revving, the buzz of a wasp that refuses to stay outside. And if I step out my rust orange front door and walk just to the top of my long long driveway, I hear Betty’s Creek rushing away from me at the bottom of the hill. 

A week later and the words I have a chance to write, the observations I have a chance to make— which spring flowers have started to bloom, which new tree stumps have the beavers made—are the first things in my mind when I wake up. But this took days…this took a bigger letting go than I would’ve imagined…no phone signal or outgoing calls…no internet connection of any kind on tap…no tv and not even a radio up here. 

Today’s snow is nearly a mirage, flurries in a flurry every time the wind shifts. The light is weak, barely making it through the bank of clouds sliding over the mountain’s top. The daffodils and irises have paused in their growth, the green shoots in shock from so much sudden cold. The shock of arriving here has worn off too, as has the shock of solitude and endless days to write. I will let this be the new norm for the next two weeks; I will let what’s been let go of stay where it is: somewhere over the foggy horizon, maybe in the next valley, a ways away for this time.