tree trunk

I’m here again, the second time in two days. This morning I cradled a cup of tea in my hands and stared at the ancient gum tree just outside the window. It was raining softly; the smooth grey limbs were just beginning to turn dark with damp. The trunk of this tree is tall and twisted. It has always reminded me of a muscled torso – flexed and turned and full of restrained power, as if about to throw a discus. For the past few days, the skin has opened up revealing big, ugly gashes in the wood that leak sap the colour of blood. As I stared out the window, I looked at this tree and mumbled something about it to the people in the room – one checking his phone, the others chatting about their plans for the day. No one heard me describe the chunky, blackened sap that seemed to have clotted half way down the tree, or the long drips of cherry-red that ran down the trunk like tears. No one cared that the rain had only wet the tops of the branches so that the water slid down the sides in thin, messy, stripes – like the fringing on the edge of an old bedspread. But I heard. I cared.

Words were coming back to me. I was seeing things again.

I’m not sure how to feel about it. For the past two months, I haven’t wanted to write. I’ve opened and closed documents on a regular basis without having written or edited a word. This has never happened to me before, and it makes me feel sad and if I’m honest, afraid. In this fallow, latent period of non-work, I have felt anxious a lot of the time, the way I feel if I’ve had too much coffee. As though I’m dreading something but I don’t know what it is.

I think this is because I know where the words want to go – and it’s a territory I have avoided on every writing journey I’ve been on thus far. It has been hinted at, in the 3000 desperate words I have written in past two months, words that I have written but don’t want to share.

But whether I’m ready or not, the words are waking up.

Sleep a little longer, I whisper to deaf ears.

Just a little more.



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