Monday, February 16, 2009

A Rest

This morning I went for a walk. This isn't anything unusual; each morning I hit the streets of our neighborhood as soon as it's light enough to see the sidewalk, but today my early-morning walk took on a relaxed tone. My office is closed in observance of Presidents' Day, and I was thrilled to have the whole day at my disposal.

My feet led me to a nearby park that has a small pond in the center of it. As I walked down the path through the trees, I circled the pond, taking in the quiet of the morning and the occasional creak of the shifting ice. It was wonderful. I don't remember the last time that I got away from the houses and streets and enjoyed pure nature.

After completing the circle, I began to make my way back to the street when a lone bench caught my eye. It was difficult for me to make the decision to sit down - I had become a little too task-oriented about my walk, I realized! As I sat and observed the quiet around me, I became a part of it. I felt the cool wind on my cheeks and heard the blowing dried leaves. I sat and thought, and sometimes didn't think, and it was wonderful.

Moments like that are what the book "Slow is Beautiful" advocates for. I've been making my way through that book since Christmas, sneaking a few minutes here and there to learn something new. Why do we always have to rush around? Why do we have to stick to a task list? Why in the world do I feel such a need to be productive on my days off? Why do I value myself based on what I can accomplish?

I think I need more bench moments. To stop. To appreciate. To let all the clutter in my head settle and to