Thursday, January 17, 2013


Most mornings I rush around, doing everything as quickly as possible: absorbing caffeine (primary importance); checking in with my wife and kids (almost as important); and generally getting myself ready to get to work as soon as I can (hmm, also important it seems).  Most days, with three people in my house headed to high school (my wife is a teacher), the schedule is early and the pace is quick.

Today, though, my wife had a very early meeting and my kids had "late start," which meant there was a bigger than normal gap between the departure times.  I, unusually, was ready around the time my wife drove off and that left me in the also usual position of being commander in chief of the morning shift, and, the most unusual of all, with plenty of time.

And, I have to say, it was very odd.

What may seem even odder to you is that it reminded me of mowing my lawn. 

You see, some tasks absorb enough of your body and brain that you can't do anything else, but you have plenty of brain left over for other stuff.  This morning, while the dogs wondered why the loud-feeder was moving unusually slowly around the kitchen, I did a number of tasks that fit into that category - unloaded the dishwasher, made espresso (maybe more than once)(oh fine, definitely more than once), made sandwiches for three lunches, got breakfast stuff ready and waited for my kids to make appearances. 

I have to confess that at one point while I was staring at the espresso machine waiting for it to warm up, I wondered where my phone was and had the urge to check e-mail and look at twitter, but I had left it far enough away that I couldn't get it and simultaneously keep my coffee moving ahead.  Priorities prevailed and I realized at that moment that periods of stillness are unusual, but welcome.  Which reminded me of mowing my lawn.  It is the same level of engagement and disengagement and it can be profoundly enjoyable.

My next task was making sandwiches for me and my boys.  There is no other way to describe it than deeply calming.  I was doing something useful, it had an easy pace, I had no other demand on my time at that moment and I had my espresso to keep me company.  Sometimes that would cause me to contemplate some problem or deadline at work, some home thing that I hadn't done when I should, or some other similar issue that was vexing, but inexplicably today it made me notice how nice it was to just be doing that.  The times that happens for me most often are mowing the lawn or cleaning my driveway.  Those are both tasks that don't allow you do anything else, but also aren't real taxing on the brain waves, and they take long enough that I find that I can't help eventually enjoying the time to ponder random things and somewhere in there notice how nice it is to just have that "time". 

And yes, soon enough my kids thundered into the room, breakfast was made, schedules were contemplated and the pace picked up to the pell mell of a normal day, but it's nice to have those moments occasionally.

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