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A beating heart buried in the snow.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jason Poole, Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, Molokai, NYC writer, writer's block, Inwood Hill, buried heart

We’ve seen a lot of snow here in NYC this winter. I took this photo this morning. Haunting. (NYC 2.18.14)

I woke up this morning with an image burned in my mind: A bright red human heart beating beneath the white snow.

(I know… I know… sounds kinda gross, right?)

Normally something like that would just pass though my mind and be forgotten by the time I’d finished brushing my teeth.  Interesting, yes, but fleeting.

But this image would not let go. Dang! It stayed with me all morning, even through two cups of coffee.

So I took out my notebook and decided that I needed to explore it.  I needed to see what was so important about it.  What did it mean?  My mind had created it and was demanding I pay attention.

Here are my “What-The-Heck-Does-This-Mean” notes:

The image of a heart beneath a blanket of snow and ice.  The heart continues to beat—faintly.  But as long as there is a heartbeat, there is the promise of warmth.  The promise of heat.

That’s how it’s felt to be working on these projects: the stories, the essays, the songs.  I’ve felt like I’m buried in an avalanche.  Like somehow I’d been snowed in a cabin deep in the woods, high on a mountain.  The snow continues to fall and accumulate.  More snow on top of snow.  And then it’s like WHAM!  I’m snowed in.  Stuck.  Buried.  Doomed. Done.

What does the ice represent in this image?  Fear.  Paralyzing fear.  (Fear of what? Need to explore this further.  Fear of failure as well as fear of success.)

What does the snow represent in this image? Doubt. Overwhelm.  Fatigue.

But wait… The heart continues to beat.  That’s my story.  A courageous little heart that won’t give up.  It can’t give up.  And from that little spot of warmth, the snow and ice begin to melt.  Slowly.  So slowly.

With each break in the ice, with every snowflake that melts, it grows—this little hot spot.  And then a clearing happens.  And it grows and grows until there is finally enough space for the story to breathe.

And then spring comes.  The warm golden sun replaces the garish, cold white light of winter.  Green replaces the snowy white.  And there, in the distance, is the story that everyone (that I?) thought had vanished and died.  It’s still alive!  Search parties had given up.  No one was looking for it anymore.  But there it is—walking down the mountainside!  It leans on a cane for assistance, but with each step, it grows stronger and stronger.  That’s how this feels.

Was the recent writing retreat a last ditch attempt at a search party?

No.  It was the heartbeat of the story still pulsing and sounding out a faint but consistent S.O.S. signal.  “I’m here!  I’m still here!”

And I’m so thankful that it is.

Right on.

Please stay tuned for more updates very soon.  The heart is still beating.

2 Responses to “A beating heart buried in the snow.”

  1. Liko says:

    E ho’omau ka panapana a ka pu’uwai e ke hoa! The the heartbeat continue my friend!

    And beat ever stronger to melt the cold.

    Me ke aloha pumehana,

  2. Jason Poole says:

    I’ve been writing about being on Molokai with you back in 2007–the power of your papa oli. It’s wonderful to revisit those times again–even if only in my mind.