I’ve written about how overrated, how capricious, how crazy the Muse is. She shows up when she wants and does what she pleases. She’s a tease, gives you all sorts of promises and most likely will slam the door in your face.
Can’t live with her, can’t live without her.
While most of the time I check in at my work desk at 9 a.m. and dare her to show up, every once in a while I have to think about currying her favor. Romancing the stone. Spending a little time in private, tramping around in nature, just the Muse and I.
Right behind my new home is a great wilderness park. It’s not as great as it once was, because it’s managed by the flood control district and the main access road is paved. Much of this park is fenced off. There are many species of tree that didn’t used to be there; they’re not indigenous to the area. It’s a cottonwood forest, plain and simple. What are palm trees doing out there?
Regardless, it’s still great. If I close my eyes and forgive the warts it’s still a dandy place to hang out with the Muse.
I’d just arrived in town Wednesday, all fatigued and jet-lagged and brain dead. Only by sheer will did I make it to my new home. But Thursday morning I was up, hiking boots on, pounding out a few miles on that paved road. Just chilling out and taking it all in. just me, a camera phone, a note pad and my observations.
- Noticed the alterations in the plant life and asked a fellow hiker about it. She pointed out another stand of trees that was deliberately being kept in its natural state. Note: No palm trees.
- Noticed the warmth of the quasi-desert area. Felt the dry heat. Saw how quickly my sweat evaporated.
- Noticed the damage from the most recent fire, maybe about a year ago. Some charred trees, but the real and/or fake foliage is coming back nicely now. That area gets hit by fires every few years; drought + Santa Ana winds = a potential mess. Some of the trees in my back yard bear the scars of fires past.
- Noticed the old city dump, closed and capped. I remember going there a few times to dump off some large items, including a burned-out fence from a previous fire.
- Noticed how close Mt. Rubidoux really is. It turns out I stopped just a little short of it this time. At some point I plan to hike over there from the house, climb that sucker and be back in time for cornflakes.
- Noticed I now have a few things to write about.
Doesn’t matter what sort of relationship you have with the Muse. It can be a real love-hate thing like the one I have, but getting out always helps jump-start the process. It’s even better if it’s in a natural area. If you’re one of those unfortunates who doesn’t have access to one, a faux natural area will do for now.
I’ll be back, ready for more miles. Just the Muse and I.
With my lunch, a note pad and camera phone.
And a pair of wire cutters. Got to do something about that fence.
Talk to me: Do you have a favorite place where you can feed your creative self? Describe it in the comments.