Sunday, June 11, 2006

What's Your Hurry?

I've puttered the weekend away. I weeded the garden, cut some fresh flowers for the house, moved some gravel in the driveway, washed some windows, and spent quite a bit of time in the hammock reading. I must admit I felt occasional twinges of guilt about my indulgence, but not enough to overcome my pleasure. 

Around all this self-imposed down time, I shuttled canoeists who were paddling the Manistee River near my home. The “put-in” was not too bad. They picked me up at my home about 5:30 on Friday evening, bought me dinner, and we drove to their put-in campsite. That night, they camped and I brought their vehicle home with me. Reportedly, they were on the river by 5:30 Saturday morning. The “take-out” was another story. My phone rang about 11:30 Saturday night. They were ready to be picked up as they had decided to do the entire weekend trip in one spurt, 100 miles in less than 24 hours. I got up, dressed, made a pot of coffee and headed for the take-out landing.

It was a beautiful night. The moon was full and casting shadows. It was a crisp night and the fog was settling in. At the take-out, I could hear a partridge drumming. And the deer were everywhere. I can only imagine how beautiful it must have been paddling that river after dark. I've paddled at night before. It's truly an exotic and eerie experience. But most of my night paddling has been out of necessity, to escape a bear who has made my camp his home or because the fish were biting.

And truly, I can only imagine the beauty these paddlers experienced, because they were too tired to talk about it. I'm totally confused as to why a group of good friends would want to spend a whole day and half a night on the river without hardly speaking or seeing each other and subjecting themselves to the food one must eat while moving in a canoe without the benefit of a campfire. They didn't even paddle together as the group arrived at the take-out over the course of the next four hours.

Many of us do the same thing in our daily lives. We push and strive to get somewhere, to get ahead, to beat the clock in some way, to attain something, to make good on a promise. And when we reach our destination we have little or no memory of the experience because we've often taken it on alone or, in our haste, left our partners behind. We're stiff and tired. We are even too tired to share our experience with anyone as the thought of restoration is the only thing that permeates our mind.

Today, I'm enjoying a beautiful Sunday morning with more of the same quiet reflection and small chores ahead of me. I imagine my canoeing friends are sound asleep. Any day, I’ll take the sweet obsessions that wander through my thoughts and daydreams over the mania that now demands their dreamless sleep.

“One of the great disadvantages of hurry is that it takes such a long time.” ~G. K. Chesterton

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” ~Winnie the Pooh

“Nature does not hurry. Yet everything is accomplished.” ~Lao Tzu