Last Monday, the pollen count here in Atlanta was over 9,000, the highest on record. I keep looking up and searching for a giant set of chalkboard erasers that someone must be clapping up there. Even Peanut comes into the house looking like she has just applied a neon yellow powder to her floppy muzzle cheeks.
We're swimming in it.
But there's more to it than just a mess. Once the rain and the wind blows the pollen away, we are left with a glorious, almost technicolor burst of color and sweet smells, birds chirping, squirrels scampering, and fat bees buzzing.
All that mess is worth it.
How did it take me so long to see this bit of encouragement from the universe? It seems all worthy creations are a mess at some point. A quilt before it is pieced is nothing but a heap of scraps. A piece of pottery begins as clay wedged under your fingernails. Most marriages (even the "good" ones) have their share of tears, hurts, and tangles that rarely come undone. And anyone that has raised children knows that messiness begins at labor and morphs yearly. And all of these creations are worth it. Without question.
Like lots of you, my workspace is a disaster when I am creating. I don't stop to tidy or clean up little blobs along the way. I just stay in that magical place where ideas and images are coming at me nonstop. When the work is done, I sigh and look at the mess. I feel a bit like an outside observer, thinking, "What happened here?" But the messiness is required.
As I look ahead in my creative life, I know that the right path for me involves one that will be messy. I need to swim in. I need to step into that minefield of risk. There could be self-doubt. There could be disappointment. And (gasp) there could be failure. I see tears and heartache.
But after the messes have cleared, I also see the potential for a glorious, technicolor burst of joy.