To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.
~ Terry Tempest Williams
The middle path makes me wary. . . . But in the middle of my life, I am coming to see the middle path as a walk with wisdom where conversations of complexity can be found, that the middle path is the path of movement. . . . In the right and left worlds, the stories are largely set. . . . We become missionaries for a position . . . practitioners of the missionary position. Variety is lost. Diversity is lost. Creativity is lost in our inability to make love with the world.
~ Terry Tempest Williams, Leap
The opposite of spare time is, I guess, occupied time. In my case I still don’t know what spare time is because all my time is occupied. It always has been and it is now. It’s occupied by living.
An increasing part of living, at my age, is mere bodily maintenance, which is tiresome. But I cannot find anywhere in my life a time, or a kind of time, that is unoccupied. I am free, but my time is not. My time is fully and vitally occupied with sleep, with daydreaming, with doing business and writing friends and family on email, with reading, with writing poetry, with writing prose, with thinking, with forgetting, with embroidering, with cooking and eating a meal and cleaning up the kitchen, with construing Virgil, with meeting friends, with talking with my husband, with going out to shop for groceries, with walking if I can walk and traveling if we are traveling, with sitting Vipassana sometimes, with watching a movie sometimes, with doing the Eight Precious Chinese exercises when I can, with lying down for an afternoon rest with a volume of Krazy Kat to read and my own slightly crazy cat occupying the region between my upper thighs and mid-calves, where he arranges himself and goes instantly and deeply to sleep. None of this is spare time. I can’t spare it. … I have no time to spare.
~ Ursula K. Le Guin, No Time to Spare
As I sit down this morning to write, I wonder… Am I wasting my time? Oh, I don’t mean with writing or blogging. But in general, and in some of the things I’ve been doing lately.
When I consider how I feel — as if in the midst of something full and rich — my answer is no, I’m not wasting my time at all. What is worth while, what is worth my while, has been a question I’ve been living with for months (thanks to Gita class). Life is too short to waste my time on things I don’t consider worthwhile.
I think this time of not writing has been a time of filling up for when I do feel like writing. I have been reading a lot. Books, online articles, poetry, words and words and words from other people. I have been drawing a lot (mandalas, mostly for the Mandala Magic course but lately as a daily exercise in capturing the feel — in colors — of my morning yoga and meditation practice). Taking slow, short walks with the camera. I have a problem with my hip or lower back or something (I think it’s the piriformis muscle) that is making it difficult to take long and/or fast walks. Slow is good, though, and I learned a long time ago that I don’t have to travel far to find beauty or something interesting to photograph. I can walk the same short path day after day and still find something new.
I am learning patience. Again. It’s a life-long lesson, isn’t it? I tried to walk and exercise out the hip/lower back problem. That’s been my go-to for injuries. Walk it off. Or, work it off. As a gymnast — eons ago, when I was young — I heard that a lot. Walk it off. Take a couple of deep breaths and get up. Get back on the horse. That sometimes works well if you’re young or the injury isn’t serious (once, it was a broken foot but I did try to walk it off before my mother took me to the ER to see if it was something that needed more attention).
About two weeks ago I finally came to the realization that what I needed most was rest. I stopped trying to walk it off or exercise the problem away, and I actively, consciously rested. Two days ago I started taking short, slow walks. The pain has gone away, most of the limping is gone, and my body seems to be recovering from whatever it is that caused the problem way back in April. I cannot get in to see my primary care physician until October (long story involving rural living and the shortage of doctors), but I don’t think that matters much now. (For the record, had it become more severe or emergency level in some way, I would have gone to an urgent care facility.)
Along with patience, I am learning that healing takes time, especially as you grow older. The exception to this rule, it turns out, are cuts. Last week I accidentally tried to cut off my finger pad when a knife slipped while I was chopping a raw beet. You might remember that M did something similar last summer. Actually, he DID cut off his finger pad. The healing took time and it was amazing to watch the skin regrow and knit itself back together. In my case, it was a deep gash and within three or four days, it is practically healed. It truly is amazing. Joints and muscles, however, want time and rest. Older joints and muscles want a lot of time and rest.
One of the gifts of rest and recovery is time. Time to read the articles I bookmarked for another day, for “when I have time.” Did you know that Ursula K. Le Guin had a blog? If you’re a fan, a voracious reader, or a writer, you might have known, but I didn’t. I just discovered it this morning. I wish I’d known about it when she was alive and actively writing on it. We were blogging at the same time, and I would love to have visited her blog as she was writing. Some of what she wrote has been put into a book (No Time to Spare) and no longer available to read on the blog. I’m considering purchasing the book. In the meantime, I’ll probably spend a lot of time reading through what is available online. I already learned one new word today: musth. It’s been interesting, too, to read about what is now history. Sad, as well, to consider little has changed or in some cases, has grown worse.
A few quotes from No Time to Spare that are enticing me to buy the book:
If I’m ninety and believe I’m forty-five, I’m headed for a very bad time trying to get out of the bathtub.
Old age generally involves pain and danger and inevitably ends in death. The acceptance of that takes courage. Courage deserves respect.
The racism, misogyny, and counter-rationality of the reactionary right in American politics for the last several years is a frightening exhibition of the destructive force of anger deliberately nourished by hate, encouraged to rule thought, invited to control behavior. I hope our republic survives this orgy of self-indulgent rage.
~ Ursula K. Le Guin
I reckon that’s about it from me on this hot and humid July day. Thank you so much for visiting and joining me on another meander out here in the Middle of Nowhere. Let’s meet at the Point for sunset this evening. It’s scheduled for 8:29 PM. I noticed we have a small craft advisory in effect beginning at 7 PM so that means there should be a good breeze blowing to keep us cool and maybe keep the insects away. Even so, I’d suggest insect repellent. Or long sleeves and long pants. A hat isn’t a bad idea, either. The deer flies, which are particularly bad this year (I probably say that every year), like to go for the head and face. A hat helps with that. They are attracted to the color blue, too. I found that wearing pink won’t keep them completely away, but at least they are not drawn to it in the same way they are drawn to blue.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind. ♥♥♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,806) The privilege and time to rest and heal. 1,807) Black-Eyed Susans, Queen Anne’s Lace, Daylilies, Gladiolas and all the Flowers of Summer. 1,808) Summer salads and barbecues. We grilled Beyond Burgers yesterday and they were quite yummy. 1,809) Exploring and discovering that which is new to me. 1,810) Visually (via art) playing with my meditation and yoga practices. It’s been very interesting. Not great art, but at least it’s interesting.