My eldest daughter, Beyunca, texted me last night asking if I could babysit first thing in the morning.
I have to confess my first thought was, “Oh, no, seriously? My precious time rituals will be shattered! This is why I opted out of babysitting full time. I love my grandbaby but my life work is on the line here!”
My second thought was to discern how long “this task would take.”
I know, not very loving or giving or compassionate.
I agreed, setting the intention I would invest the rest of my day well. What would “losing” a couple hours hurt, right?
When I woke up this morning, I decided when I babysat I would take Jaxon to Hart Park. “I have some stale bread to get rid of to feed the ducks with,” I explained to my daughter as I got the baby dressed and out the door as quickly as possible after I arrived.
We got to the park and drove right past the assorted ducks, my usual stopping point.
My heart lead us to a path my friend Michelle introduced me to the previous week, close to where the peacocks live.
I parked the car and put Jaxon on his feet. I didn’t bring his backpack to create a harder workout for myself, I wanted instead to create a Granny-Grandson nature hike with both pairs of our feet on the ground.
On this day, he could walk and he could explore. He could pick up sticks and pinecones and decomposing leaves from last year. He could open his eyes widely at the sight of a peacock and run after it with the lustful detachment toddlers master which I would like to remember more of the time.
He came to a block - a curb taller than he is used to lifting himself over - and I stood back to watch what he would do. He became nature in those moments and I became the nerdy-science-class-child, witnessing. With that hurdle crossed with a Granny assist, I carried him down a hill onto the trail and off we went, along the river, slowly gathering in the scents of the new life, the old life, the water.
He got cranky a time or two. I would lift him and carry him and then put him down and try again. He explored cottonwood, the inside of my purse and attempted to leap into the river - a toddler tradition for all my children.
Emma called from school with a very valid senior-in-high-school-crisis which could have ended my reverie if my mind was in a different space. Somehow watching Jaxon just be Jaxon as we walked along the path and explored together both calmed and inspired me.
We hustled back to the car so I would be accessible for Emma’s needs and Jaxon’s mom texted simultaneously saying she was on her way home. I would be able to help Emma, take Jaxon home and still have a full day ahead to invest in forwarding my life work.
Ironic, isn’t it?
I got home and wore a big smile on my face. “What a great day so far!” I thought. I knew nature was dialing me into the powder room so I better take care of that quickly. I grabbed a book to read while there.
Mary Oliver’s collection White Pine was within arm’s reach. I sat and read and actually had the most inconceivable, yes more than slightly arrogant and flat out outrageous thought, “Mary must have had an off year with this book. None of these poems are stirring me at all.”
And then I turned the page.
And Mary’s words knocked me off my porcelain throne.
There I was, feeling smug and proud for “managing my time” with intention and insight and oh so fabulously spiritual yet tangible and applicable not at all esoteric terms and here Mary wrote, in her poem “At the Lake”
”This is, I think,
what holiness is:
the natural world,
where every moment is full
of the passion to keep moving.
Inside every mind there’s a hermit’s cave
full of light,
full of snow,
full of concentration.
I’ve knelt there,
and so have you,
to what you love
to what is lovely.
I read it once, silently, to myself.
I read it twice, aloud, to no one and the entire world.
Mary’s words knocked me off my porcelain throne and invited me to live a couple questions, to walk around in them for a while.
What if I looked at my concept of time management as expansive holiness? What if I held time like the touch of the river water along the banks, letting it flow and gurgle and smell so good I just want to throw off all my clothes and leap into it?
What if I integrated the thought of time as holiness and passion and movement and me as holy-time’s playmate, co-conspirator, fairy godgranny?
This is where I want to kneel with time.
“Full of light, full of concentration,” and “every moment full of passion to keep moving” even in the stillness of tears in my eyes, kneeling with my grandbaby and wondering "how the hell did I get so blessed?"
Time as holiness.
I am diving into it, headlong, and see the feather comforter supporting me and surrounding me and yes, perhaps you are there laughing beside me.
Time as holiness.
With my life work, with the people I love, with the people I serve that I absolutely can't help but love. With my creative projects. With the next-whatever-it-is-that-pops-up-next.
Time as holiness.
I love the siren song of synchronicity. This particular experience followed a theme from one of the Tracking Wonder communities I run with, the theme being "shaping time." The randomness of finding this exact poem from the piles of books I could have picked for my sojourn in the restroom is truly remarkable. Ahh, just had to share. So grateful you are reading here.
Julie Jordan Scott is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed-media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people's creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming in Spring, 2015 and beyond.
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