There are an abundance of Apricot trees in Northern New Mexico and Summer is their season. The streets are littered with the tiny bright yellow-orange fruits and their scent is carried on the dry wind that comes down from the mountains.
When the afternoon monsoons come in with all of their thunder and flashes of lightning and drama, the leaves of trees look darker, and the fruits look brighter. Early one morning I sit outside, looking at the starry sky, watching a shooting star fall to the ground somewhere far, far off into the distance, when I hear a rustling.
It is still dark, an hour or so before sunrise. I watch as the silhouette of a large raccoon ambles its way down from the apricot tree in our back yard. Fur and fat rolling in a surprisingly graceful way down the slim trunk of the tree. Once the creature makes it to the ground, I hear a flurry of chittering and surmise that this is probably a mother raccoon who has grabbed an early breakfast for her and her litter.
This creature is smart. She has waited until it is deepest night or earliest morning to clamber her way up to the tree and grab the juiciest fruit. No one is out at this time in our little neighborhood and she and her litter can devour their apricot feast without being disturbed. I’m impressed with her intelligence, and it reminds me of a conversation I had with a beloved author.
Her books consistently are on the NYT list but when she started writing she was a full-time mother and in graduate school. She wrote her first book in between loads of laundry and other household chores, often writing (by hand) a paragraph or two on top of the washing machine.
There are a million stories like this: of artists and authors, entrepreneurs and athletes who squeeze in their practice, their craft, in the tiny cracks that show up throughout our day.
It is easy, especially is busy seasons like Summer, when our daily routines are disrupted to push aside or forget completely about the work and goals that serve our dreams.
Easy to let things slide.
Easy to diminish a vision that you have, saying it wasn’t really that important anyway, especially now when it seems like there is no time.
Easy to give up.
Raccoons are considered a nuisance animal in many regions of the country. They get into trash, fights, and (obviously) fruit trees. People often to try trap, poison, or ward them off in some fashion. Logically there is really no reason why they should thrive the way that they do…and yet here we are and here they are.
Raccoons are not, generally speaking, looked to for their significance or medicine…though in my opinion (and in the opinion of many First Nation people) they should be. They are not noble like Wolves or powerful like Panthers or inspiring like Hummingbirds. They are common. Everyday. Highly adaptable. Persistent. Opportunistic. Where else do we see those qualities?
Oh that’s right! We find these qualities in every creator who has ever made anything!
You show up even when the conditions aren’t perfect (spoiler: they never are).
You show up every day so that your work sometimes feels…boring or routine. Yes, the work of your soul may sometimes feel boring, routine, or like a PIA.
You show up even when the conditions on the ground are changing.
The most important thing is that you show up.
Because sometimes…when the wind is just right you will catch sight of a falling star and shamble down your dream tree with paws full of sweet and juicy fruit, good stuff that can nourish you…and your community for weeks and months to come. That’s the magic in showing up.