I waited until I could hear the deadline whizzing toward me before I sat down to write my column for this week. Even then, I felt compelled to straighten my computer wires, and organize my pencil tray.
My head was a vacuum, and ideas tumbled about like untethered spacemen that drifted too far from the craft.
I pulled my trusty iPhone from my pocket and began flipping through photographs I’ve taken the last few years, but nada.
I whined to Jilda that I couldn’t come up with a decent idea; she encouraged me to sit quietly and meditate, with the intention of coming up with an idea.
I told her I needed to sort my sock drawer, but she gave me that “sit down and meditate, you whiney baby.” I hate that look.
So, I called up my meditation recording on my phone, shoved earphones knuckle deep into my ears and thought to myself, I will come up with an idea.
A key to meditation is to clear your mind, which was NOT a chore this time. When the 20-minute recording ended, I opened my eyes and remembered I needed to run an errand (how convenient). So I forgot about writing for a while.
But last night before I went to sleep, I kept silently repeating, “I will think of an idea, I will think of an idea.”
This morning when I woke up my mind was a little fuzzy, but I stumbled into the kitchen and hit the brew button on the coffee pot, and tossed some cold water on my face at the sink.
I walked into my office and pulled out an old journal at random and flipped through until I found an entry for September 26.
The year was 1999, and on that day, I was in San Francisco. Jilda and I, along with her sister Pat, had flown out there where we perform at the Napa Valley Songwriter’s festival.
The day before we’d driven through Woodside, which is a small community at the base of the Sierra Mountains, and on across to Highway 1.
I’d been through there once before with Jilda, but it was Pat’s first time and I could hear her gasp audibly when we rounded a curve and saw a flower farm in the distance with red, blue, yellow and purple flowers planted in wide rows that seemed to go on for a mile. It looked like a giant flag.
The farm is one of the many in California that supplies fresh cut flowers for the tables across America.
Just a few miles further, the road dead-ended onto Highway 1, which is the coastal highway that runs the rocky Pacific Coast from northern to southern California. There’s a postcard quality view at every turn.
The sun was warm but the breeze off the Pacific was cool, and we rolled down the windows to get a little closer. The scent of wild dill, which grows by the side of the road like sage, wafted into the car. I could also smell the salt from the ocean.
I pulled over at a wide spot in the road and we stepped outside.
The ocean roared as it crashed onto the rocky shore 300 feet below.
Once back on the road, we rode in silence for a long while trying to take it all in, and store it down deep in our minds like a cherished photo album that you pull out and look through from time to time.
We lunched at a small seafood restaurant on Cannery Row before heading back to our hotel in San Francisco.
It is a great memory, and I’m thankful I captured it in my journal.
I smiled as I read those words today, because I knew at once I’d found the topic for my column this week. A good night’s sleep won’t cure procrastination, but sometimes it helps you to temporarily overcome it.