Literary Hook: Finding renewal through rest
By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet
Here is a poem about the need for giving things a rest to find renewal. It was inspired by seeing an unplanted field in early summer.
The fallow field absorbs the rain,
which turns its soil deeper brown.
The farmer has left it unplanted
until the elements have nourished
just the right environment for growing.
The wise farmer does this by intention.
I remind myself of this when friendships
strain and blow like parched topsoil.
Or when a surprising impasse enters
a conversation or a project, I try
to leave it alone for awhile. This,
despite what psychologists may say,
is not passive-aggression. Sometimes
waiting is just waiting, which requires
intentional patience and hope for rain.
I remind myself of that intentional farmer
when writer’s block makes my mind shrivel
like a dry field, sprinkled only with weeds,
not one worth picking. I have learned
to let my mind go fallow. After all,
all things need a rest. Even marriage
needs a recess now and then.
The trick is to lie down in your own corner
on your own blanket and take a nap.
In marriage, we are all kindergartners.
A nap is like a fallow field,
empty and ready for renewal.
Love that lasts will have its barren patches.
Once I planted milk pod seeds deep in the soil.
The first year they lay fallow. Not one
sprouted in the garden. Two years later
dozens nestled near the phlox
and sunflowers. Today monarchs lay eggs
on milk pod leaves. Butterflies are hatching.
First published in Chiron Review.
Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet. She received the Lawrence E. Gloyd Community Impact Award at the 2012 Rockford Area Arts Council State of the Arts Awards.
From the July 3-9, 2013, issue