On Leap Day this year, I was at the beautiful Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Michigan. In the gift shop, I saw a booklet of 30 postcards featuring photos of the park–nature scenes, sculptures, the Japanese Garden, etc. It gave me an idea for a writing project during the month of March. I bought the booklet and every day this month I am writing a short poem reflective of the photograph on the postcard, working my way through the booklet. I then choose a stamp that fits the scene and put the postcard in the mail to myself.
I’m sharing this writing idea with Pulse readers today, the first day of spring, because I realized yesterday–after hearing of more COVID-19–related shutdowns, from big automakers closing their plants (including those in my region) to a favorite café not able to sustain even take-out service–that the time I spend composing a poem, addressing the challenge I’ve set myself to reflect deeply on the scene on the postcard and write something in response, can be a time of much-needed renewal, whether it’s a few minutes or a few hours.
Sometimes the poems are light and playful, but even when they’re somber they allow me a moment to bring to light how I’m feeling in a way that is ultimately healing. I learn that I’m still grieving the death of my brother two years ago as a poem unexpectedly brings him close. I write a “found poem” from a current newspaper article, an experience that allows me to hold a stranger in my heart, a daughter who could not be at her mother’s side as she died in a nursing home, stricken by COVID-19.
The process of crafting a poem requires an attentiveness and focus that, I’m convinced, contributes both to my sanity and to the health of my immune system, both of which mean a lot to me right now.
East Lansing, Michigan