Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Patience.

It's a trait that seems to be lacking in many of us these days.  Maybe even most of us.

Whether sitting at a traffic light, standing in a checkout line, or listening to a friend share an opinion, we don't seem to be very good -- nor indeed very interested -- in slowing down and being a part of that moment.

It used to be that we would blame this lack of patience on something ephemeral -- the chaotic pace of summer, for example, or that lying sonofabitch Nixon  -- but it transcends seasonal boundaries.  It won't get suddenly better come fall.

I'm as guilty as anyone.  And consciously trying to improve.  Specifically, of late I'm trying to slow down in each moment, to pay attention to something, anything specific to that moment.  

Like a cumulonimbus explosion of fur.


Or the framing of a sublime evening happening.


Maybe the earning of a peaceful moment the old fashioned way.


Or stopping mid-mach down a favorite descent, just because I can't remember what it smells like *right here*.


Perhaps recognizing when composure turns oh-shit into ho-hum.



Or appreciating a process that takes a meaningful amount of extra time to achieve, but delivers in return something that can't be arrived at any other way.

   
A few weekends ago my desire to slow down and be present had me standing at the edge of this opening, watching the line of sun march across as a band of clouds departed.  I wasn't the only one aware of the change: The buzz of insects palpably increased as the light intensified.


Patience has come to mean leaning into the moment I'm in.

It's especially enjoyable when that moment includes loam and duff.


Or sunlight and shimmers from an elevated perch.


Or applauding the longevity of a 45-year old turd.  And the herculean efforts required to keep it going.


My biggest "Learn patience, dammit!" episode in recent memory came a few weekends ago when I was 6 hours into a 7 hour ride, parched, and out of water.  I came upon a creek trickling down a mountainside and thought, "Hmm, self, your thirst could shortly be slaked -- all you need to do is crouch and drink".  

And that's what I did.  Even though I didn't have a filter.  Even though it wouldn't have taken much restraint to wait just one more hour.

As I rode away from said crick with water dribbling down my chin and sloshing in my belly, I heard what I had hoped not to, what I hadn't waited long enough for: Cattle, all over the hillside above the aforementioned crick.

Which brings us to the picture below: My penance, as it were, for not possessing patience at a time when patience would have been advantageous.  Atop that cutting board sits roughly 3 servings worth of 'medicine', ostensibly capable of chasing out whatever bug(s) I ingested when I couldn't be bothered to slow down and think.  And listen.


Ah well.  At least it's livened up the morning dose of raisin bran...

We could all stand to benefit from slowing down, from not giving in to the compulsion to rush away from this moment, or toward the next.  You might be doing it right now -- by mousing up to close this window before finishing this sentence.

Give it some thought.  When you have a moment.  

It's easy if it's important.

3 comments:

  1. Patience is a virtue afforded only to the dead... Beauty and light, however hurried, is given to the living.

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  2. Any time I want to slow down and enjoy the moment I hang out with my cat. She has it dialled. Reminds me of the old saying "When the student is ready the furry teacher will appear."...I think it goes something like that. ;)

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  3. Eckhart Tolle would smile at all that. You once famously said "as long as you keep moving you will get somewhere". I guess for me the big jump came when I realized I *was* somewhere.

    :-)

    Keep on brotha!

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