I ran into my friend Warren at the farmers market yesterday morning. He and his family moved to the other side of the state recently (what we lovingly refer to as the Dark Side), so I didn’t expect to see him in St. Augie. But there he was, in his usual spot, selling his cookbook Table for Two (which is great – if you don’t have one yet, why not?). We caught up on each other’s lives (we read each other’s blogs so it didn’t take too long), and celebrated the joy of unexpectedly running into an old friend. I feel like I don’t know many people here, but I sure have been busy with the ones I DO know.
We discussed, among other topics, our tendency to focus so intently on the day-to-day details of living that we forget to pay attention to the aspects of life that are NOT part of that vital dance. To hear a song on the radio, and really listen to the words and the message they convey. To appreciate a sunset, or birds singing, or how lucky we are to live the lives that we live, in the place that we live them.
Obviously it’s not a new conclusion. Stop and smell the roses, can’t see the forest for the trees – other people have noticed and commented on that same thing. But it’s a good reminder that inasmuch as we need to pay bills and attend meetings and clean house and make a living, life isn’t just about that stuff. Without icing, cake isn’t nearly as yummy.
I know that even in my non-traditional, nomadic, crazy life, I get so overwhelmed trying to make ends meet, figuring out where to live, paying the bills, meeting obligations, that I forget my own personal soapbox: life is short. Don’t waste a minute. Don’t put anything off until “later” because there may not BE a later. Even I, the queen of “do it now!” haven’t watched a sunset (or sunrise, on this side of the state) in weeks, or walked on the beach or done any writing or – well, most of the things that nourish me. Even I forget to remember to pay attention to those things that make life fuller and richer. And to those things that carry a message, that are trying to remind me of what’s important, and what’s just filler.
So for my friend Warren, and for me, and for everyone else who leads a life filled with responsibilities, duties, chores, tasks….be sure to squeeze in a little time to nourish your soul. Listen to a song and wonder at the message it has for you. Watch a sunset and appreciate the rich colors. Walk on the beach or across a lawn and feel the sand/grass between your toes. There’s a whole ‘nother world out there, trying to get your attention and teach you something. Don’t miss it!
In the words of Cat Stevens (or Yusuf Islam, now), you’re only dancing on this earth for a short while. Pay attention. You never know what you may find!