Carving Stories from Trees- Our Home

The Highline Canal is a long trail sided next to a creek throughout Denver’s southside suburbs, 71 miles to be exact. It connects different cities together through the paved and unpaved walking trail, lining itself with cottonwood trees and bushes as tall as we were. Although the purpose of the highline canal was to provide irrigation through the man-made waterway, it was dry most of the time. For us, it didn’t provide irrigation; it provided recreation.

My brother and I walked through the winding roads of our quaint neighborhood, a brand-new development built on the borders of the sacred greenery of the Highline Canal. Scratch that- the yellowry of the Highline Canal. We walked up the dirt hill to reach the yellow sticks and the leafless trees that grew along the trail until we found a denseness that suited us.

Rewind one year. Mom and dad would drive my brother and I to the spot where our new house was being built. We got out of the car, onto the future street on which we would live, and looked at the giant, square hole in the ground. Dirt. Everywhere.

They told us, “This is where our house will be. It will be painted blue, and have a red door.” I tried to imagine what my new house would look like. I thought it was strange that our house would have a red door, this color yelled anger at me, which is how I felt about moving from the home I’d known my whole short life. My life, as I knew it, was being displaced. Into a neighborhood I didn’t know. Into a school I didn’t know. With the people that were forcing my displacement.

Fast forward. To the denseness. To the foliage. To the nature, which belonged to my brother and I, alone. Once we found the perfect spot, a little opening within the branches, within the sticks and the grass, we built our home. Our home was here, not in the blue house with the red door. Here, we could imagine our own spaces and create our own niches. Here, we made the rules and decided who we wanted to be. It might have been different day to day. I was usually a mother, cooking dinner for the family in the patch of small twigs near the center of our home. I had on my pretend oven and pretend oven mitts. Other days I was a teacher, ordering my brother to sit at his desk, a little spot in the corner amongst the grass. I put on my pretend glasses and taught out of my little blue notebook, telling my brother to take notes.

When we got bored of our home, we would go on an exploration journey on the trail to find another one. Sometimes we’d get distracted by the creatures we’d see. Once we came upon a turtle, which my brother named Speedy. He was our comrade for a day or two, until we lost him and found a new comrade to replace him, like our pretend pet that would follow us around. We found walking sticks one day and became original Settlers of the land. The Highline Canal was ours, and ours alone. Anyone we saw walking or running on the trail simply didn’t exist to us, for it was our world, and we made it fit what we needed it to be. Our home.


Embrace Your Muse

“You will know that you have found your muse when you encounter a force that makes you feel courageous enough to broaden the range of your creativity. The presence of this force will erase your self-doubt and motivate you to give your thoughts and feelings form.”

“If you surround yourself with people who support you, keep a pen and paper handy, immerse yourself in culture, and brainstorm frequently, you will soon reconnect with your muse.”

-Madisyn Taylor

Every day I get emailed an inspirational little tid-bit from a site called Daily Om. I don’t always get around to reading them, but yesterday I read the email and the subject was about Embracing your Muse. As an aspiring writer, and a human in general, I am very curious about inspiration- how inspiration works, how to be inspired, how to express myself in what inspires me. I’m so glad I read this article because it inspired me to think about what my muses are- what motivates me to have that creative spark.

I’d definitely have to say one of my greatest muses is God. I am inspired and awed by God’s work in my life on a daily basis, and what he has gotten me through in the last 10 years of my life. I have experienced pain, hurt, loss, death, grief, addiction, depression… you name it. I believe these struggles that I went through helped me become a stronger person, and that God got me through them and brought me to where I am today. This last year has been a spiritual journey for me, and I feel like I am closer to God now than I have ever been, and I feel truly blessed.

But let’s go back to those painful experiences for a moment. The times that I wrote the most and seemed to have the most inspiration was when I was going through the hardest times of my life- especially the death of my grandmother and heart break. At those times I didn’t know what else to do with myself- I was brimming with sadness and pain, and the only thing I knew what to do with these emotions was to write it down on paper. Some of my most meaningful poetry and creative expressions were written during these times. And now, I embrace these difficult times and feel grateful for them, because I have experiences that will help me be a better person and writer.

In my opinion, being a writer is all about experiences and story telling. I’m inspired all the time by books- I think about how the writer came up with the ideas they wrote about, and what they experienced in their actual lives to be inspired to write those stories. My new goal is to remain aware for when things come up that inspire me or strike my curiosity. I try to always have a notebook with me so I can write down ideas or thoughts I want to explore. From now on, I will embrace my muse(s), remain curious, and explore environments that support my creativity.

My Journey…

So, I don’t really know who reads this… I don’t advertise this site/blog to barely any of my friends, it seems to intimate for that. But I feel comfortable with the blogging community, maybe because they don’t know me on a personal level. Sometimes it’s easier to share with strangers and fellow writers. And there’s just some things I need to get out/explain. I have not posted anything here for literally 18 months. Why, you ask? I was in an 18 month structured therapeutic community for addiction and alcohol dependency. I went without social media literally for a year and a half. It wasn’t allowed- no facebook, no email, no nothing online.

Now I’m back, and getting online now is almost overwhelming. I want to get back into reading and writing… It’s my passion, it’s who I am… While I was gone it seemed like a lot of my passion and motivation for this creativity dissipated. I did a lot of work on myself, though. Picking back up on this has been a little more difficult than I foresaw. A lot of what I used to write was inspired by fear, hurt, shame, loss…. I feel that when I tap back into that, my creativity flows easier and smoother; it’s more profound. But I also want to be inspired to write when I’m happy, feeling blessed and excited.

I’m still on a journey of finding myself… What do I want? Who am I? Who do I want to be? Right now I’m just going through the motions… making sure I stay sober, making sure my maladaptive thoughts don’t get in my way, making sure I have my priorities right… What a crazy, unexpected, long, and amazing journey this has been and will continue to be.