The Fish


I’ve always thought in poems and stories.  Words gather together and form and suddenly there is something real there that I can see and feel.  These images are like fish swimming by in a fast flowing stream, glittering in the sunlight.  More often than not, I just let them slip past – admire their beauty and potential as the flash by – especially for the last two decades.  Now, once again, I’m trying to find time to sit patiently by the edge of the stream, my fingers languidly submerged in the water, waiting for just the right fish to reach for and try to grasp.  Ah, but if you’ve ever tried to catch fish by hand, you know they are notoriously slippery and difficult to hold.  Nearly impossible.  Those fish seem to swim by at the most improbable and impossible of moments – while I’m driving the car with my kids arguing in the back seat, when my mind wakes up in the morning but my eyes have yet to open and the only sounds I hear are the soft slither of sheets from nearby rolling bodies, as my hands are slick with mango and I hold a sharp knife and slice the green skin off of the fruit, and frequently in the shower when my hair is wrapped in the froth of perfumed shampoo  (I think the water  attracts the fish as they really love swimming by in that space).

I’m so happy to be fishing again and reeling in the fish.  I’m so happy to have found my way back to the side of this stream.

I’m grateful to people who have helped guide me back here through the last few years.  Some of you know who you are and the role you’ve played, others I’m sure have no idea.  So here is a public shout out and thank you from me to some of those people who have helped me find the creative writer part of me again.  I think it is important that every person knows the influence they are having on those around them, through even the smallest of acts that they might never have realized had such great and lasting impact.  Throwing love into the universe for helping me write again and adjust my skin to a more true and tailored fit to –

Joan K. from TUUC who has been a wonderful mother hen to me for a very long time.  Joan has herself endured unimaginable challenges in life that have spanned continents.   As an experienced mother of a child with special needs, she’s pushed and pecked at me to take care of myself.  Despite all of my rejections of all of Joan’s pharmacological suggestions as a path to greater peace and acceptance, her prodding has led me back to the rushing water, which is my source for serenity.

Sue R.  from TUUC who encouraged me last summer to submit my therapeutic poem, Unpacking the Suitcase, for publication to a poetry journal that she regularly reads.  She said she could see that poem in print in that journal.   Sue’s message acted as a catalyst for me writing two poems, Man Crushed by Indifference and Turning Radius, which marked a turning point from me just using poetry as Sierra angst therapy and really trying to write something else again.

Sandy H. for embracing and enabling my quirky aesthetic in the oh-so-many forms that takes.  As I dress, I am. 😉  Although she is an admitted sucker for truly excellent packaging – know that the packaging can, and often does, influence the interior.  Sandy’s interior is as fabulous and intriguing as the exterior.  It’s not all subtle, punk, flash and irrelevance.  Sandy is deep as the sea, wise as an oracle, more fun than a dolphin, and has a wardrobe, shoe, book and music collection to absolutely die for!

Danny F. who has been a grand book swapper with me, for sending me a snippet from an Alice Walker poem which reminded me how dog-gone much I love reading poetry and made me wonder why I hadn’t been reading it anymore.  That led me to finding an App for that, and then obsessively flinging great poems around to unsuspecting and amused friends and excitedly reciting astounding lines to Max.

“So all were lost, which in the ship were found,

They in the sea being burnt, they in the burnt ship drown’d.”      from John Donne, A Burnt Ship

Come on!  How can a line like that just not make you want to spend the rest of your life reading and striving to create even just three dang lines that could even get close to that for power, brilliance and beauty?  Man, John – you were the man!  So Danny’s nudging me back toward poetry eventually led me directly to the stream, pushed me down on the bank, and revealed to me how much I love all the getting wet and fishing stuff again.

Angie C. for being the sweetest darn reader on the planet who sends back incredibly detailed reflections on any writing I share with her.  She also is a goddess of the creative process and a well spring of inspiration for following your muse.  She lives that.  It’s so impressive to watch her tackle something so massive and consuming as the first documentary she’s creating.  She is fearless when taking on new things and embracing change.  And, she is an awesome pop culture buddy who never fails to make me laugh or gasp (countdown to True Blood).

Tara M., Marissa S., and Jennifer V. (and Sandy again), for courageously agreeing to form Salon Z and help foster a nurturing space for intellectual, creative, emotional, and spiritual growth.  This should be interesting, challenging, and very, very, very fun.

And then there is my family – the one’s that live in my house with me, and those spread all around the country.  They’ve always encouraged me to write, even when my penmanship made the meaning of the words on the page more obscure than I actually intended (which sadly, still holds true today as much as it did when I was in first grade.  My handwriting and spelling are atrocious!).   And Max, my partner in everything for the last 25 years, has always loved the writer part of me and couldn’t be more supportive and helpful as I reach for those wriggling fish, even stepping in and letting me dash from the room in the middle of some crucial parenting task if a particularly big, flashy, gorgeous fish suddenly appears.  Although he may not always understand why I write what I write, or think I should be writing and sharing what I sometimes write and share, he gets my need to create and write.   As he said this morning, artists are driven to emote through art – musicians, poets, painters, writers, etc.  Yep, I acknowledge he is a very smart man, despite my trying to often convince him I think otherwise.   Gratitude.

Finally, there is the water to thank.  I grew up surrounded by water.  I’m from Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, so I guess the growing up by water is simply a given.  I had a pond and a river right in my back yard for many years.  When I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, I was literally perched on an isthmus between two big lakes.  The water was a constant and everywhere.  The fish have always been right there if I just stopped to look.  I took the access to the streams, rivers, small lakes and Great Lakes for granted.   Now that I am more landlocked in Maryland and don’t regularly catch the reflection of sun glittering off water with every turn of my head, I’ve needed to learn to look for that water, that source, elsewhere.  Again, I’m so grateful to everyone who has led me to this new reservoir.  There is water here too, and fish galore.  Immersion time.  I’m jumping in.



About Julie Ayers

Seasoned apocaloptimist, keen admirer of well-placed words, fierce mama bear of extra special children, black belt hugger, and advocate for a fashion rebellion which elevates the most human of hearts to socially acceptable outerwear.

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