To Be

The smell of spring permeates the air—the sweetness of crabapple, the heady perfume of lilac—and redbud petals lie strewn across the path at the entry to the woods. Deep down the path, the tiny wildflowers they call “shooting star” cluster at the base of towering oak trees. Frogs and birds sing, click, peep, into the rush of water. The wind whispers through cedar trees anxious to hold center stage for just a little longer, dreading the day that oak and sycamore and silver maple buds will burst open, changing the soundscape from the low-frequency whoosh of winter to summer’s treble rustling.


But here in the shade of cedars, perched three hundred feet above the creek, the noise that concerns me most is manmade…made by a miniature man, just thirty-six days in the big world. I type around both sides of his little body and look down over the creek valley, and I think…oh, so many things. Far too many. So much to say. So little time. And such a need to be still, and not think at all.


I pride myself on being disciplined in my creative output, but it occurs to me that I accomplish very little these days. I have no focus. Of course, I have a good reason. Five hour nights will do that to a person. But I think it’s a bad idea to excuse conditions you don’t want to remain in play—it’s too easy for reasons to become rationalizing.


We’re headed into a crazy busy weekend. We have a birthday party on Saturday afternoon—Alex turns four at last, so maybe he’ll actually start telling people he’s four. (You should see the scandalized looks I get from strangers when Alex explains that he’s three, Julianna’s two, and Nicholas is zero.) And then on Sunday, Nicholas will be baptized. Two days, two very big parties.


So I should be home doing dishes, cleaning floors, folding laundry, and getting ready. Yet here I sit above the creek, because after all, those tasks, as necessary as they are, do not constitute life. There’s that old adage, “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.” Like having a clean house…occasionally. But who wants to skim over life, always focusing on whatever’s coming up tomorrow, and never resting—reveling—in the moment? Is that really living at all?


I choose to turn off my NEO and revel in this day, in the breezes alternating warm from the south and blessedly cool from the north…in the luxury of relative idleness…in the opportunity to introduce my sleeping baby to the world of creation. In an hour I’ll return to the clutter of house and home, and in a few years I’ll return to the land of focus and productivity. For now, I choose simply to be.