I began writing when I was about seven. I clearly remember composing my first poem while riding my bike one afternoon before dinner.
It was a typical California day: beautiful. The late afternoon sun bathed the San Juan Capistrano valley with a golden hue that made everything look heartbreaking. When the sun set over the ocean, the Western sky burnt orange, turning the hills into black silhouettes of themselves. To the east, indigo intensified the stars, the planets, the moon. I had no idea how lucky I was to live amidst such natural beauty. But I could feel the beauty in my body as I lived within it, and my body sang about it without even trying.
As I rode my bike, the pedals provided a rhythm to which I found myself setting words about birds, sky, leaves, god, flowers, heart, love, loneliness and loss. I remember being surprised by the way the poem was coming to me, fully formed as they say. It felt new and strange and definitely like a gift, and I pedaled home as fast as I could to write it down on a piece of paper so as not to lose it.
I don't know what happened to the poem after I wrote it down, but the memory of writing it sticks with me as clearly as if it had happened yesterday.