The rain pelts my hands grasping bike handles, soaks my feet inside my leather tennis shoes, freezes my shoulders bent over the handlebars. (I soon learn my raincoat is water-resistant and not waterproof. Oh, an important difference.) And my legs? Yeah, they’re drenched. But my helmet visor is blocking the raindrops from my eyes–so I can see.
A thirty-minute bike ride door to door and the urban outdoors is wild in its beauty. I kind of love it.
I tell Justin during one of our Fridays after work that this fall (almost winter now) in the California Bay Area, where we live, is alive with texture and color. More beautiful than I have appreciated before. When we lived on the East Coast for four years, Philadelphia and then New York City, the transformation of trees’ leaves turning from green to red and orange and gold was a brilliance spectacular and staggering.
I remember substituting for a school in the suburbs of Philadelphia and standing near the seventh grade English classroom’s floor-to-ceiling wall of windows, amazed by golden yellow leaves raining, raining, raining down. But the trees of California, I was convinced, could never compare to the beauty of those gold leaves swirling to the ground. But this year, I think biking has helped me notice what I couldn’t notice before. Color. Texture. Air. My breath. My body pushing up a hill. Sound.
The combination of writing poetry and being outside is helping me practice noticing what before I took for granted and couldn’t see. And in that seeing, I am moving–not necessarily physically moving (although that is usually the case), but participating in life that feels big, potent, exciting, staggering in its beauty.
This life is all here, before us. Within us. Around us. Life singing and moving and dancing and struggling and leaping and crawling. I want to practice new ways of taking it in. I want to notice and breathe in what before I could simply observe. But it starts there, doesn’t it? Living fully alive starts with noticing what we can see with our senses, experience with our minds and soul.
For the Loop Poetry Writing Prompt this week, I invite you, in this season of Advent–with its invitation to experience the waiting of our Savior–to write a poem that speaks to being alive, awake to wonder, awake to beauty, awake to pain. Write about something that amazes you or astounds you, puzzles you or bothers you. The poem can be prompted by memory, something that you have seen and experienced, or prompted by your current experience, something you are noticing and processing this week. It can be about a person too.
Share your poem here, in the comments, and/or on social media using #looppoetryproject to tag it. Bless you, this Christmas! And remember, considering joining the Loop Poetry Project private Facebook group!
I can’t wait to read your poems! Merry Christmas!