Just what do we mean by ‘fallow?’

An upland hay meadow could be said to be fallow, and yet it’s bursting with new life. It’s just, perhaps, not producing the intensive crop that it could be; rather, it’s an incredibly successful panoply of diverse species all contributing to, and jostling for, space to grow.

I imagine that ideas are like that. A writer in a fallow period, a period of necessary rest and receptivity, may be quietly acquiring new ideas and concepts that can see them through a more dedicatedly ‘productive’ season. On the one hand, I can’t wait to produce something. But on the other hand, just being quiet and listening to the ideas percolate around is lovely too.

I often think of myself as incorrigibly lazy, but maybe I’m even more guilty of rushing headlong into a project without spending enough time in preparing for it. Just now it feels like I’m more interested in the project after the one I’ve planned next, than I am in the one I should be getting ready to work on. But I’m not really working on anything, not really.

Just trying to keep up with the garden, the chickens, the travel plans. Thinking about the imminent autumn term ahead, which looks like commencing in about a fortnight. And that’s when I shall be trying to buckle down and apply some discipline again. The writing, per se, will begin again. Perhaps I’ll have this blasted keyboard sorted too, or perhaps I’ll start with a different Mac Book, see how it goes while my own machine is back under warranty for repair or replacement.

Either way, it’s been fun to experience the ideas, to throw them up in the air and juggle, without having to wrestle them into some sort of form, or pin them into position on a board like so many butterflies. If that’s ‘fallowness’ then I really should do it more often.

By Larry Winger

Retired scientist, devoted diarist (AllendaleDiary.org), community-minded aspirant novelist, I've lived on a smallholding in the East Allen Valley for the past 30 years, delighting in watching our family grow up, in experiencing the development of our grandsons, and in taking care of our small flock of chickens and garden.

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