May 11, 2013

Leisurely Mornings

I enjoy a leisurely morning; it's such a pleasant start to the day. On Nevis, leisure was built in. We lingered over breakfast, then I would journal or make poem notes--included below--and Mark would play music. Sometimes we'd simply watch the activity in nature (the view from our front porch was glorious).

Yet back from vacation, mornings are now more rushed, more distracted. What's the difference? Why does this happen? I think of an interesting article I just read in Mindful magazine. Sallie Tisdale wrote about mindfully goofing off. One line really spoke to me: "So much of this busyness feels externally imposed--because I'm forgetting how much of it I've actually chosen" (italics mine). As I move from Nevis into day-to-day life, I see my choices more clearly. I'm choosing to have less leisurely mornings. (Sigh.) I feel such a strong pull into doing and striving now that I'm back from our cozy retreat. Our culture encourages achievement; we are a doing society. But here's the bottom line: I make the choices (from a place of distracted judgment or a place of loving intention). Perhaps some mindful goofing off is in order.

Garden Scene
The wind sweeps steadily;
branches dance.
Flute permeates the thick air.
Rain-soaked plants strut vibrant colors:
yellow atop emerald atop chocolate.
Birds supply staccato
under the lilting flute.
The ocean's voice rumbles,
just barely.
Oddly-shaped clouds slide
across the sky.
Lizards lay in wait.
The scene hums with life.
Yet when the wind stops
the stillness is palpable.
The mourning dove's chorus repeats.
Until the wind returns.

Nelson brought us papaya.
We covered it in lime juice
and spooned out the orange flesh.
Later I thanked him
Nelson knows little English;
yet he understands gratitude.
Next he brought coconuts.
He opened them with two swipes of a machete.
We drank the water and dug out
the gelatinous, white meat.
Nelson asks permission 
to rake around our front porch
(nature's litter of orange and purple petals).
After his work, he thanks us.
I return his thanks,
amazed how kindness transcends language.


  1. Y'know the church right on Hwy 23 in Rosendale? Driving back from a tournament one time, the readerboard at said church said, "Time you have enjoyed wasting was not wasted." (or something to that effect)

    Most useful thing I've ever seen on a church readerboard and something that I still remind myself of, eight years later.

    1. Love that sentiment, Dana. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I think that everyone should remember that not EVERYthing has be done today, at this instant. I think that society also tends to rush kids: breakfast, school, sports/clubs/what have you, homework, quick dinner, bed. Where's play time or quiet time for kids these days? But you are quite right in that we do make these choices to hurry, hurry, hurry. I think that's the thing about photography (and running, for that matter)---it makes you slow down and focus. I'm glad to see you're back from your little getaway. :)

    1. Thanks, Katie. It's always wonderful to hear from you. (And, yes, where is the sit-in-the-backyard-and-watch-the-clouds time for today's kiddos? Sigh.)