Welcome to “my” front yard – an area of desert wonder, accessible for camping, observing, decompressing, rejuvenation.
Despite having access to this incredible area since 2004 – which hubby and I have visited numerous times – this weekend was the first time we’ve camped overnight (Thanks Mark and Roxanne, fearless trail guides and seasoned campers).
The solitude, the quiet, the nature … Wow does it ignite the senses, and, it turns out: creativity.
Our campsite is a local favorite, a once-lake at the top of a manmade dam, crowned by a magnificent cottonwood too big even to photograph. But if you look below, you can see one of its fallen branches, parallel to the mountain folds cast in the brilliant light of sunset.
Of course, camping isn’t all relaxation and placid thinking. There was rain. It was completely unexpected and is never fun for tent campers. But the most disturbing – and exciting – incident was being awoken to something lapping water from the tarp right in front of our tent (at our feet, near the entrance). Something lapping loudly, I might add. I have no clue what it was, but the mind always tends to race after coming upon images like this, which we saw on the way up into the mountains:
Just so you know, though … There was a gun in the tent, between us – just in case. And Roxanne had hers at the ready when her dogs began to growl inside her tent at the nighttime visitor. Maybe it was a coatimundi? A raccoon? A skunk? Next time, we’re setting up our trail camera to see if we can capture the wildlife sauntering into camp.
All of this nature – exhilarating and relaxing – brings me back to the jolt of creativity I experienced. I want to write. I want to focus. With my head de-cluttered from the noise of social media and void of technology for only two days, I already feel the difference. Creative engines – mine at least – seem to fire when I’m in that solitary, focused mode.
How could I not be affected by these views?
So what’s the lesson learned from this camping trip? For me it was a good reminder of the importance of unplugging, feeling, seeing – and living – in the moment. It was a good reminder of the way those experiences feed my writing and feed me. As a result, you may not see me around as much in coming months as I silently focus on the creative endeavors that seem to be thwarted by too much noise.
For Readers, For Writers: Do you think technology, social media, news, television – all of these always-accessible media and moving parts – affect creativity? Do you think writers write better when they isolate for periods of time – or stop social media presence completely? Does nature impact your creativity the way it does mine?