This post by Gayle M. Irwin
One week ago my community became buried in 14+ inches of heavy, wet snow. Businesses closed, including the community college and the non-profit organization for which I work. Two days later, I was 275 miles north in Montana and enjoyed a weekend of 65 – 75 degree temperatures (and no snow!). And when I returned to Casper, so did spring. This week temperatures will be in the 60s and near 70 degrees. Amazing the difference a few days, sometimes even a few hundred miles, makes.
I love spring! Flowers grow and bloom, trees bud and produce fruit, and grass becomes green and lush (and the lawn mower comes out of the garage). The wicker furniture and glass bistro set await lunches and evening gatherings on the deck and in the yard, and my two cats spend more time relaxing in the sunshine that warms the back brick patio. I look forward to enjoying increasing outdoor time, soaking in the fragrances of tulips, bleeding hearts, and lilacs and listening to the ever-increasing numbers of songbirds warble from our blossoming apple tree and honeysuckle bush.
All seasons have their beauty (although the older I get, the less I like winter) and purpose. Just as nature’s seasons bring new opportunities (to ski, to plant, to hike, to harvest, for example), so too do the seasons of our writing. A few weeks ago I was to speak and have a booksigning at a small-town library. Publicity was done, including a nice write-up in the local newspaper. However, only three people showed up, and one of them was the librarian and another was my friend who provided a place for me to stay overnight. Needless to say, I was completely disappointed; I left the library questioning why I was doing this writing and speaking stuff. A few days later, I received a delightful note from someone who bought one of my books the week previous, and today, I opened an email from another reader/book buyer and dog adopter who said, “I can read your work time & time again. I have spoken to you several times at events, but you can be assured, I will be more “pushy” next time—you are amazing and I would love to talk at more length.” Needless to say, I smiled as brightly as the sun in the sky – which, that day (Monday) was dazzling.
Spring brings new growth, in life, in nature, in writing. Several new opportunities came my way earlier this year, and I recently learned at least one of the stories I submitted to Prairie Rose Publishing for the anthology Pawprints on My Heart has been accepted; also, my story about America’s national parks will be published in the upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Spirit of America. Sprouts, buds, and growth are all part of spring … I find similar progress in my writing. I may still experience bleakness in my writing and speaking endeavors just as winter brings starkness. Some of my booksigning events have produced little fruit. Yet, for those whom I do reach, I am grateful. I need to remember when I question my purpose and my work that spring and its incredible beauty does come … even after 14+ inches of snow.
Gayle M. Irwin writes inspirational dog books for children and adults and has had short stories published in five Chicken Soup for the Soul books; her story about America’s national parks will be part of the upcoming Spirit of America book from Chicken Soup. She enjoys sharing what people can learn from pets and nature. She volunteers for various animal rescue organizations, to which she donates part of her book sale revenues. Learn more about Gayle and her writings at this website: www.gaylemirwin.com.