Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wing that falls on the rails. ~~henry david thoreau, Walden
In this first week of summer vacation, I find myself guilty of overreacting to every spilled drop of water and every word spoken by others. I feel out of sorts; misplaced; without a space to call my own.
None of these are true, of course. I am home for the next 9 weeks or so, home with my family, and home under my own roof, in my own space, where I get to say how dirty or clean my desk is. The derailment, I think, comes from embracing what “living deliberately” is all about.
We get in a groove, don’t we, living this way or that? As a teacher, I spend 9 months working intensely with hundreds of students and dozens of colleagues in a very electric environment. I cannot walk down two consecutive hallways without greeting someone who shares that experience with me. There is nothing like it in the world, and even if you are not directly related to the experience of that electricity, you can feel the hum in your step, as the jazz band practices for an upcoming show or dance company brings the stage wood to life; maybe the hum is in the learning itself, where no words can capture the resonance of minds gathering, assimilating, sharing newly discovered meanings. You don’t have to see it or hear it to feel it. You just have to open yourself up to receive it.
Much like the everyday sounds we take for granted around us. Stop for just a moment and listen to what’s going on around you. Maybe you can hear the hum of traffic moving along outside, or maybe that mockingbird’s back in your front tree, and he just continues to sing and sing, whether you are listening or not. These are sounds that have been humming around you this entire time; all you had to do was open up to them and allow them to come in.
The hum that continues at school is within me now, but I cannot look to this summer environment to match it, to harmonize with it. This home has its own hum, and I need to hear what it has to say, align and be a part of this groove, this summer soundtrack of life, and embrace it fully.
It seems to me that this is one of the easiest ways to avoid derailment from those spilled drops or misinterpreted words. Open your mind, your heart. Listen to the hum. Resonate….and simply flow.
Only then will we enjoy this new hum. We never got off the tracks; we simply changed the scenery a little along the journey.
A note to my readers: The Fine 99 is a new series of essays focusing on my beliefs of what is most important in life. After I am finished with this series, I’ll see what I’ve written to see if it’s worthy of a collection of essays to pitch as a book. I’ll let the angle, the threads and the themes emerge as they will without too much forethought. Otherwise, I’ll feel a little boxed in to write exclusively about this or that, in this way or that way…If in the end a collection of essays rises from these words, then I’ll take the next step in publishing them. If not, well then I’m sure the ride will serve some greater purpose that I need not mind myself with at this moment.
What is your fine 99?