Thursday, April 17, 2008

Slow Shoes

Original journal entry Sept 15th '03
It’s September and the morning sun is different now. The air is clearer, the colors brighter. I drove through Highland Park on my way to work. An elderly woman sat under a tree, next to a large rock, next to the waterfall; her cell phone cupped to her ear. The park walkers now have a sweatshirt or windbreaker; if not on, around their waist.

This is the best time; trees full-on green, the last big burst of chlorophyll before fall hits hard. The morning temperature is a relaxing cool, the sky blue and cloudless, or nearly.

These are the days you wish you could just putz. Putz around the park instead of going to work, imagining who the cell phone lady is talking to and what they’re gabbing about.

Putz around the house doing all those little things that need done, but are never quite front-burner important; like framing that old picture from your childhood or arranging some flowers in that vase you never use.

Then stopping whenever you feel like it just to sit in that Adirondack chair in the yard and reflect on how good life is at these times, as you sip an extra cup of coffee.

This time of year warns us that it’s not going to be this time of year very much longer. This fantasy-weather won’t last. Everything in nature now calls us to get out from behind the desk to do the simple things we will not be able to do in a matter of weeks.

And as I write this I feel the kid-like pull to play hooky, to Carpe Sunshine.

Isn’t there a pull inside all of us between being responsible adults and living with a childlike embrace of life?
We read books or listen to speakers that remind us that the man on his deathbed never lamented not spending enough time at the office, and inside we say, “Yeah! That’s right!”

We respect the courage of the person who will let loose the responsible thing to go home and draw, simply because they haven’t drawn since seventh grade art class.

We hear these little antic dotes and our heart says, “Yes!” But later, our mind says, “No, it’s not responsible, it’s simply not done.” And still the chlorophyll’s time-release paint source is ticking.

Who wouldn’t rather be sitting by a rock in the park talking on a cell phone to someone they love who they see but once or twice a year?

Maybe it was attending my 20-year high school reunion the other night, but there is a tension between working too hard and not playing hard enough, not slowing near enough to notice and savor the things of life that can only be smelled, tasted, and felt through slow shoes.

I love my slow shoes, I don’t wear them enough. They’re broken in just right through decades of wear; they’re the most comfortable and relaxing shoes I own. But here is life’s diabolical twist: Without wearing my fast shoes, I don’t appreciate my slow shoes nearly enough.
If I would only put on my slow shoes, I imagine it would only be a matter of time until they became my boring shoes. We are truly weird creatures; seemingly always trying to govern work and play. And it never seems easy and it never seems simple; all we seem to know is when we’re having too much of one or not enough of the other.

What are we to do? I guess try to Carpe “the appropriate shoe.”