The day after Thanksgiving, my ten-year-old son and I took a walk through the Reed College Canyon, a sacred wild place that is practically in our back yard.
I’d told him about my favorite pond full of algae where the ducks like to hang out. As we turned the bend and the small body of water came into view, my son laughed.
“That’s not algae, Mom, that’s duckweed! It’s a plant ducks like to eat.”
An enthusiastic naturalist and patient teacher, my son led me to the pond’s edge, found a stick, and swished it around in the water to show me how the top layer of green was actually a mass of tiny, flowering plants that somehow stay alive on the surface of still water.
“Isn’t it remarkable that the ducks are literally swimming in their food?” I asked my son.
“It seems perfectly natural to me,” he responded.
Such a refreshing assumption—that it’s perfectly natural to have everything we need, right here and now.
I thought: What if we’re all swimming in duckweed, and we don’t even know it?
And how would it change our (writing) lives if we did know it?
I recalled some of the triumphs I’d heard from my community of writers lately: people dedicating their first 20 waking minutes to morning pages; people carving out space to write thousands of words per day as part of NaNoWriMo; people with generous partners and children who handle household tasks on a regular basis, so they can write; people plotting out highly successful writing projects and careers on napkins in five-minute margins before school pick-up.
And yet, we’re so often focused on what we lack and what’s in our way, instead of on how much we already have and are accomplishing.
What if we all have exactly the right pen, plot, inspiration, circumstance, and skillset to do the work we are here to do—right now? What if everything about our lives is already enough?
What if our primary opportunity is to notice that we’re swimming in duckweed, let ourselves be nourished by it, and be grateful?
What if it were perfectly natural to write what we’re here to write—in as much time, with as much effort, as it takes. What if it’s the water we are already swimming in?
I’d love to hear about the duckweed you’re swimming in! Please, please, please, tell us about everything that’s going right in your writing life in the comments below!