I believe when something amazing is around the corner, God anticipates. Ready to pull back the curtain. Ready to show us that Jeremiah 29:11 has been true all along and He can’t wait to open up His big, wild world to us. Ready to show us that tomorrow will be The Most Magical Day.
But for now, it’s today, and we’re finally going to write. Our teacher is no dummy. She knows seaplanes, skiffs, starfish, and whales have cracked open the regularly scheduled programming of our lives. We are ripe for instruction.
“Today is a big day,” Leslie Leyland Fields says. “It’s not only the day we’re going to pull the nets out of the water, it’s also the day we’re going to put our nets into the water.”
I think it’s probably a decent fishing analogy, but I’ve called the desert home for north of twenty years now. We get 7” of annual rainfall. My knee-high waterproof rubber boots feel silly and constricting on shins and calves accustomed to running free. We turn to Ezekiel 37:1-14 to more familiar desert language. The Valley of Dry Bones.
“We are like Ezekiel, using words to bring muscle and skin to bring life back to the dry bones of our past,” Leslie says, teaching us about how to write scene.
“Go underneath the events and wrestle with them,” she says. We’ll come back to that. Tomorrow, Leslie will “show, don’t tell” in a way that even she couldn’t not even have scripted.
After class, much of the group goes kayaking, but I retreat to my room to write and sleep. It’s an unexpected move for an FOMO-prone extrovert on a sunny day, but I’ve been grinding lately, and my gears tell me to disengage the clutch. By dinner, I decide I want this to be my life. Eat, Pray, Sleep. No toilets to clean. Wait. I do miss flushing toilets. But otherwise, I want this to be my life.
I head to dinner. Remember the dead fish in the bucket from yesterday? Head Chef Tammy Jones needed six salmon to feed the group, but she had only four. Salmon have maneuvered the middle of warmer-than-usual waters this summer, lowering catches for “setnetters” like the Fields.
Only two salmon were pulled from the nets the day before. The two in the bucket. The two we needed. The two now on the platter. It’s not quite the miracle of the fish and loaves, but maybe it actually is because, my goodness, look at that made-from-scratch sourdough loaf that Chef Tammy has prepared. We will eat this week. Oh, we will feast. We don’t even know how full we’ll be.
And God stands, smiling, hand on the curtain.
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