My friend Shoshana e-mailed me the other day to ask if I wanted to do a Sarah Selecky online writing program. I said a big YES because it was such perfect timing as I had just been thinking about how creative I used to be and how life, work and pandemic stress has kind of sucked me into a type of creative paralysis.
About a month before the holiday I had to start making a Secret Santa project for one of the people I work with at Tattoo Zoo. When I pulled Nicole’s name I immediately knew I wanted to do something to do with plants. She loves plants, plants and more plants.
So I started working on a wall banner for her and it was so much fun to pull out my sewing machine and experiment with felt, scissors and to get frustrated and then brainstorm to try to figure out how to make the banner look the way I wanted it to look. It turned out pretty awesome. I’m really happy with it and when I heard Nicole shriek “OH MY FU*KING GOD” over the spotty zoom connection (during our zoom staff party) I knew I had done a good job.
Working with my hands again really ignited a creative fire in me that I haven’t felt for a long time and I thought “This should be my New Years resolution. Let’s lead with more creativity.”
So I jumped at the chance to do this writing program. I haven’t written anything but e-mails lately so it was fun to receive my first assignment in my inbox on Jan 1st and let my imagination fly. Here’s what came of it. Let me know what you think. 🙂
MIZZLING by Sarah Kramer
“Shit.” She had worn the wrong shoes. Part of her walking path in the woods had been flooded by the heavy rain.
She had grabbed her coral coloured faux suede slip-ons in a hurry to get outside for a walk before the rain started up again. She had been living here long enough to know that these shoes were ridiculous to wear for a walk in the forest but her desire to only wear things that were comfortable outweighed any logic.
The rainy season had rounded the corner. In her part of the world, the rain was all that winter was. The clouds would start to roll in about mid-October and then came the mist and fog and soon daily rain was part of the routine of winter life.
Even though she was a pluviophile and enjoyed the damp season she still fought the change in outerwear. Every winter season was a new personal and private game in pushing the limits of not wearing her rain-gear. The longer she could go without wearing socks or confining rubber boots; the more she felt like she had won something.
Her slip-on shoes felt like slippers and anything that felt like loungewear was all she wanted to wear lately and even though the shoes wouldn’t be ruined like cow suede if they got wet – she still didn’t want to get her sockless feet wet. She had a lot more walking to do before she headed home.
Her walking path was in a section of land near her house that was left to the city by a man who used to own acres of forest before the area had been bulldozed and turned into the suburbs. His dying wish was that they would leave this unfettered part of his land alone and only maintain the walking paths that he had carved himself on his daily walks.
This chunk of land was a safe haven for all things wild and it wasn’t unusual to hear ravens croaking above in the tall Douglas-fir trees or to see frogs living their best lives in the marshy section of the woods.
She was being cautious about crossing the flooded walking path because she knew how slippery things could be in the rain. She carefully plotted out her route across – while a 30 year old flash of memory of hydroplaning across a rain-slicked downtown sidewalk ran through her mind.
Her first rainy season here was a marvel. Coming from a snowbound city where -30 degrees Celsius and wearing arctic style jackets and boots was a normal winter day outfit – in her newly adopted city she walked the streets feeling intoxicated with the lack of need for any heavy winter-wear.
The mizzling rain didn’t feel like the prairie rain she was used to back at her former home. This new west coast rain was light and almost didn’t feel wet.
Suddenly and without warning she found her right leg sliding one way and her other leg sliding backwards to then find herself sitting in a puddle as strangers helped her up to her feet.
“You have to be careful about the sidewalk grates when it’s raining.”
She learned that day that water could be just as treacherous as ice and that embarrassment can be an intense lifelong motivator for future caution.
She stepped over the waterlogged rocks successfully to the other side of the forest path and sniffled. Exercise and exertion always made her nose run so she checked the pockets of her sweatshirt for a hankie to blow her nose.
Her fingers touched a foreign object and she pulled a tube of lipgloss out of her pocket. Wow. She had forgotten about lipgloss. This was one of her favourites; it was the right shade of pink without seeming infantile. It also had the perfect hint of gold shimmer that didn’t leave glitter on her face after the gloss had inevitably been licked away over time.
Lipgloss to her was the icing on the cake that was her daily make-up routine. Her purse at any given time would have 4 or 5 different glosses at the ready but that was pre-pandemic days. Now her purse was full of masks, nitrile gloves and hand sanitizer and she hardly wore makeup anymore because she almost never left the house except to go for a walk in the forest.
She held tightly to the long-forgotten accoutrement of the past and tried to remember the last time she wore it. The gloss had been in her pocket for so long that it had started to separate. The chemical components that keep a gloss emulsified had given up. It had been sitting for too long.
She wandered off the forest path and out to the city sidewalk to finish the rest of her walk home. Passing by a bus stop she made a little detour over to the garbage can and unceremoniously tossed the gloss in and walked cautiously over the slippery wet grass back to the sidewalk.
She pulled the hood of her sweatshirt up over her head. It has started mizzling.
Side note. Mizzling is a word my Dad taught me about and I’ve been looking for a way to incorporate it into my life ever since. 🙂
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Did you many any resolutions??