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Archive for June 18th, 2009

“I got no deeds to do, no promises to keep.”*

Visiting with a friend the other night, we got to talking about dawdling. 35 years ago, she was a busy mother of 3 young children running a family business. As we talked, she reminisced about a morning that truly stands out for her as a special time spent with her son, who is now nearly 40. I asked her to send me the story again so I could get the details correct. Most of these words are hers with some sentence crafting by me:

One day, when her son was 4 years old, they were walking home together from the family business.  What was normally  a ten-minute drive turned into a two-hour walk. It was early spring and it was one of those crisp, crystal clear, sunny days. There was an aliveness to the air as the sun warmed the morning dew, releasing the sweet and pungent odors of grass, flowers and weeds.  In those days, the neighborhood was semi-rural. There were no curbs or gutters. In some yards, chickens played catch-me-if-you-can through holes in the fences.

Mother and son chose a pathway where they could stop to visit horses in someone’s expansive yard.  As they walked, they stopped to investigate the silvery tracks of snails heading for shade as the pavement heated up. She can still see him, a little boy, scuffing the dirt, creating dust clouds with his feet; the dust sticking to the sweat on his face. He climbed a low fence and he tossed the occasional rock.

She concluded her note to me with, “JUST BE and be in motion. NOTICE the details of the world.  A little boy and his mom in communion with the day – precious moments. Makes me smile to this day – 35 years later.”

What are your memories of precious moments and communion with other; with the day?

For me, it’s the time spent outside of time. The time spent lingering in the glow of friendship and love. The time spent on a trail, on the beach, adrift with the notes of beautiful music.  Like that one night with friends, watching the full moon rise over the ocean while listening to shimmering strains of John Abercrombie’s  Timeless.  I remember an afternoon on the beach where everything was perfection; the sound of the waves, the sunshine, the warmth of the sand, the gentle breeze and the sounds of laughter. It drew me in and I had no desire to leave, ever; until the sun began to set and it got chilly and, I would have to guess, I got hungry.

I remember the moment, while performing a piece I wrote specifically for him, when my father’s voice and the notes I was playing on the piano locked in together, rising into a beautiful unexpected crescendo, taking on a life of its own, something really sublime.  It was a moment when the music used us and we did not get in the way.

I remember being 10 and a girlfriend and I lying on our backs on the carpet in the living room, staring up at the ceiling and creating our own laugh-fest. Gosh it felt good! Summer nights bring on the memory of my bare feet on the warm asphalt of the street after dinner;  those delicious extra hours of play and gathering of neighborhood kids that come with the longer days.

I’ve check off plenty of things on my to-do lists and I’ve rarely been anything other than punctual, but there are times when I’ve just had to ignore the clock say to the trees, to my lover, to my dinner guests, to the music on the page, the keys under my fingers, …….”I’m not going anywhere. I’m right here with you.” When I say this to them, am I not also saying it to myself?

And when I think about it, on my list of regrets, not one was due to taking the time to commune, to dawdle, to play.

When all is said and done, what are the memories that will find you smiling as you look back over your life?

What really is worth your time and attention?

Where, really, do you have to be and for what – and – what will you remember about that?

When a moment begs to be savored, another soul needs to be heard and seen, when beauty calls out “over here…over here…” how will we respond?

If we are always “late for a very important date,” as the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland lamented, then maybe it’s time to create a margin for dawdling in our schedules.

If we can take the time to dawdle, to linger just a little bit longer and then a little bit longer more, we are saying:

“Life I love you!”*  And life will be very happy to hear that!

*The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)

( Simon & Garfunkel )

Slow down, you move too fast
You’ve got to make the morning last
Just kickin’ down the cobble stones
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy!
(La,la,la,la,la,la, feelin’ groovy)

Hello, lamp post, whatcha knowing?
I’ve come to watch your flowers growing
Ain’t ya got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in’ doo-doo, feelin’ groovy!
(La,la,la,la,la,la, feelin’ groovy)

Got no deeds to do, no promises to keep
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life, I love you, all is groovy!
(La,la,la,la,la,la, feelin’ groovy)
(La,la,la,la,la,la, feelin’ groovy)

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