It’s a gray November day, except for the overgrown blackberry bushes’ leaves hanging yellow and bright outside my window. Five (work) days ago, I returned home from a cruise to Bermuda. So far, I’ve managed only to unpack, do several loads of laundry, reorganize our recycling, pack up gifts for our 20th Anniversary Aurorean contributors, and reply to the most urgent emails in my Inbox. Already feeling slightly guilty for having accomplished little since my return, that guilt now becomes magnified on this last workday of the week, because I’m feeling tired, unmotivated, and I’m staring out that window.

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Add to that, many of my writer-friends are participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I’m seeing their word-counts add up on Facebook. They are writing like mad (and more power to them!). Although I love National Poetry Month in April (especially Poem in Your Pocket Day), I don’t even participate in NaPoWriMo because I hate forcing poems out. That’s just me, but even more to feel guilty about.

As I continue to stare out the window (Billy Collins would be pleased), I see some of the leaves rustling out of the corner of my eye. And then I see why. A large doe is feasting on summer’s leftovers. I move closer to the window and see she’s not alone. Her fawn is with her, and both are unaware of me spying on them as they leisurely enjoy the day and its offerings with flicks of their white tails, their noses in the air between bites of vegetation. But they are there for another reason. For me to receive my lesson for the day. As I watch them for fifteen minutes or so, the guilt of the “shoulds” melts away. I SHOULD be watching them—right now, at this moment.

As a matter of fact, what I want to do now is to begin work afresh on Monday. There are deadlines, poems to read and respond to, manuscripts to read and respond to, events to plan, marketing ideas to consider, directories to update, and even a finished children’s book of my own to put the final touches on and to send out for consideration. But there is nothing that can’t wait until Monday. And now, I want to go into my writing room and create a poem. It might be about the deer. It might not. But it won’t be forced, and if it doesn’t come, I’ll move on to another project close to my heart.

No guilt, just creation. Take a moment to look out the window, even if you think there’s nothing to see. And go write your heart out when the spirit moves you.