Karen's Quest with Karen Smith
Have you ever seen a bear standing in a river, sopping wet and shrugging, overwhelmed by the number of fish to choose from? All the other bears are already enjoying full bellies and a good bark-scratch, but there’s still one numbskull wading around, waist-deep, looking down in confusion at the plethora of salmon bumping into her. “Gosh,” she thinks, “I just can’t decide.”
I feel like I could learn a lot from bears. (Do bears have mentorship programs?)
I’m learning to call myself a writer, so the next thing I have to learn is how to decide what to write. I’m lucky enough to be at a buffet of ideas, but much like a real buffet, I’m struggling with how to turn choices into a meal or, rather, a subject of focus.
Ideas dangle around me like a mobile of precious gems around a mesmerized baby, and new facets gleam and twinkle with every breath. I am thoroughly amazed and dazzled by the whole, yet each contains enough beauty and mystery for a lifetime of focus. Not that each requires as much as that, but I feel somehow that committing to an idea is like making a life-long vow and I’ve got cold feet. It makes me a bit panicky.
The reality is I’m wasting time and letting perfectly good fish glide right by me because I can’t stop looking at the next and the next. Though it sounds like the opposite, in a way it’s the same as hoarding, which is summed up as a lack of decision-making. (As evidenced by using too many similes and metaphors, for example.)
And, like a hoarder – and so very unlike a bear – I’m making this process much harder than it has to be. It’s time to pick a fish and get out of the water. Or it’s time to put some crusty pudding on my somewhat warm, somewhat wet buffet plate and stop holding up the line. Or it’s time to snatch a trinket off the mobile before the baby wakes up. Whatever the metaphor; it’s time. I have fears and worries about what I’ll end up with, but I’m coming to terms with the fact that if you don’t choose something you end up with nothing.
Karen Smith is on a quest for personal truth and boundless consciousness. She feels lucky to live with her family in Truemanville. Her column appears bi-weekly in the Amherst News.