I found the lost piece of my plot while I was lost just now, walking the dog at the park at the end of the road where I often walk the dog. The afternoon was thick. The haze of humid heat that summer days wear when they remember, after a solid rain, that it's July. I felt like I was breathing underwater and the dog panted heavily, like she was exhausted from the effort of staying afloat. I didn't want to walk because I felt like I shouldn't stop writing, forcing the words out drop by drop by painful drop.
We walked. I wasn't looking where I was going, I was just walking. In the summer, I'm not often walking without the kids and their needs, which I have to carry, because even though they agreed that yes, if they brought their toy from home they would carry it the whole way, they change their mind. And they want a candy. Why can't they have a candy? And where ARE we exactly and why can't they climb that tree overhanging the cliff? And she HIT me! No, HE hit me FIRST! And ARE WE LOST?
Not that it's bad. Mostly it isn't. Mostly it's fun. But to walk in silence with no one but the dog felt like a gift I'd almost passed by. I watched my feet moving through the weeds. The grass in the park had grown up so high that no landmarks were visible and it didn't matter. There were birds and the dog kept pulling wildly after squirrels. I kept walking and thinking of nothing but how the grass smelled like a memory and then suddenly, Oh, yes, there it was.
Just like that: The crucial piece that was missing all along, the part that the book was waiting to be about.
Thunder clouds started to roll in. The dog was nervous and she pressed against my leg as we walked, awkwardly tripping me every two steps and I thought if I didn't have a dog, this dog, who demanded a walk just then while I was busy lying on the bed and eating Smarties and writing the wrong thing, I never would have found, in this tall grass, that thing that I so desperately needed.
So it was a good day.
In more ways than that. Sometimes you find all kinds of things when you aren't looking.