I’ve been reading a book, From the Forest, about the connection between the cultural psyche of fairy tales as birthed from ancient woodland. I’m only about 40 pages into the book, because I keep getting caught up in the imagery, and trying to wrap my head around some of the more intellectual stuff: like how there is a lot of overlap in oral storytelling, the motifs and themes within, across cultures. How the fiction you take in on a cellular, almost primal level, matches up with the truth you know in your head.
I did a research paper on Noah’s Ark in high school. I learned the source Sumerian tale was older and smaller. .. it shook me. There are the stories we feel and the stories we know. Logically, I know there was not a worldwide flood. I know the story likely came from an oral tradition trying to make sense of a world of chaos – where floods can wipe out everything you know overnight. However, on another level, the story of Noah is true as only the best stories can be.
Another thing this book has made me realize is how little I know about trees. I think of myself as a nature-loving type of woman, but I’ve been troubled to learn one or two things… for one, I had no idea what the difference between a beech tree and a birch tree is. Thanks to Google Images, I at least have the image in my head. But I drive around town looking at trees and asking myself if I know their names. I fall woefully short
But then, what is this human urge to name things? Just another way to try to make sense of a world that so often seems out of order, I suppose (and of forests that can swallow children whole).
On a more domestic level (and speaking of cultural myths and stories!), I have put up my Christmas tree. It is a lovely human creation (guilt-free; I hate seeing trees chopped down): 6.5 foot tall and pre-lit in such a pretty
way. I do love this ritual of using lights to get through winter. I had a bit of a wistful time putting up the tree, though, missing people who aren’t around anymore, for one reason or another. Which, in the end, circles back around to these comforting traditions: I wrote Christmas cards for the first time since college, too, and I’d forgotten how good they make me feel.
As for writing? I have been trying to write daily, but it has not yet become a habit. I still feel so beat at the end of the day it’s hard to do anything but sit on the couch and watch Orphan Black. Last night I made myself a deal, that if I just got my notebooks and computer in place and sat at the desk, I could go back to the couch and knitting after ten minutes if I still wanted to. It worked last night, but my ultimate goal is for writing to replace television as my evening entertainment.
We shall see.
Having written that out, it reminds me a lot of when I started exercising. I would make that sort of a deal with myself then, too. I knew I could get on the elliptical for ten minutes. I rarely ever wanted to stop; usually getting started is the hardest part.