Monday, November 19, 2018

Autumn, and slowing down

I was thinking yesterday as I raced toward my massage therapy appointment that it would be nice if we were able to momentarily stop time when we’re running late so we could slow down and get there safely. Then I wondered how stopping time would affect everyone else, and the quandary became complicated enough I abandoned it. We seem to be bound by time, and more specifically the clock, and our own expectations, and the expectations we think our culture has for us.

This morning I woke up to a list of things to do that applied pressure to me the moment I glanced at my closed daybook. The list includes a few things that do in fact need to be done, but much of it is my own effort to do it all, and before Thanksgiving day. Those items could be lost or crossed through and nothing would happen. No one would even notice. I would probably not remember the items myself after a few days’ time. Yet they have the power to make me feel mild panic, like there are Things That Must Be Done and I am the only one who can do them.

The truth is we have the power to stop time. Not the clock. Not for the entire world. But we can, if we choose to do it, take a moment, or a few minutes, or even a little break in our day, to catch up to ourselves, center ourselves, and rejoin the forward movement of the world when we’re ready.

When I travel to the NC mountains I am always comforted by the pull-offs, places along the way where you can literally pull your car off the road and sit for awhile, usually to view a gorgeous vista, or a mountain stream running over rock. Often these pull-offs have short trails you can walk, into the forest, to waterfalls or overlooks. These little roads less traveled beg to be taken.

I wish we had these everywhere, marked for ease of finding them, but again, the truth is they ARE everywhere. We simply have to stop and take them.

Autumn is a perfect metaphor for slowing down. The dormant stage of many plants and trees, a brilliant show of color so breathtaking it forces us to stop and look. This week, as holiday plans and travel and expectations might run high, make a point to pause. Take the long way to where you’re going. Let that extra entree you’ve decided you need to make go. Don’t fret the mess you think you need to clean up before friends and family come over. Go take a walk instead. Stop before every brilliant tree, stand in every scattering of fallen leaves. Watch how the sun angles down now that the leaves are gone. Stop your cooking to go watch the sunset.

If there’s an item on your list that desperately needs doing, do it and let the others go. The world will keep turning, we’ll all continue living and breathing. Play with the kittens. Take the dog for a long, leisurely walk. Ride your horse without doing the chores first. Look at the land around you and sink your feet where you stand. Stay there longer than you ever have and let every detail of nature come to your attention.

Happy Thanksgiving from November Hill.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I agree that slowing down and enjoying the holidays is a great idea. That said I find it hard to not try and get everything done. This year should be easier since we're staying home and relaxing after dinner. This is a lovely post with lots of good advice and good thoughts. Hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving day.

billie said...

You have a wonderful Thanksgiving too. It’s been a crazy week. Kitten to vet Saturday with upper respiratory infection and today Bear Corgi to vet with what seems to be a hot spot under all his fur. There for 3 hours because she had to work us in. Whew.

Matthew said...

Really good advice!