One of the exercises in The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron is to go for a week without reading. Impossible! I thought the first time I tried it. Yet I have found value in periodically emptying my mind of other people's words.
I listen to the frogs at night and the birds in the morning. I check out the trees that have fallen or died since last year. I see that new moss has grown over parts of the path, and the ladies' slippers are blooming. I count the goslings being taught the trail between the ponds by their proud parents. Because the ponds are very high this year, the logs that make a crude bulkhead are under water, accelerating their decay. I cannot put any weight on them.
Some things are unchanged: the ruddy sky reflected on the water, the rustle of pine needles in the wind, the tapping of rain on the roof. I sweep spiderwebs from the corners and mouse droppings from behind the books.
Shakespeare wrote of “tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,/Sermons in stones, and good in everything.” There are stories enough here for me. This week, anyway.