Monday, December 26, 2011

Slower pace

The place where I work is closed for a week. Even if it weren't, I would have taken this week off to be with my family. There was much to be done before I embarked on my trip. It's a busy time of year at my job, and I wanted to tie up all the loose ends before our offices closed down. I wanted to send Christmas cards to 14 people, and to prepare presents for 12. I wanted to get my bills paid and my house cleaned. I did laundry. I packed clothes, toiletries, books, laptop, Christmas presents, and even bedding and a Christmas tree. (I have a two foot high artificial tree, an air mattress, and a pump for the air mattress.) I was out of vitamins so I had to go to the store for vitamins. I went to the post office to mail some gifts.

There was so much to be done. I couldn't finish it all. But finally I just had to leave. There's a saying, "What's done is done," but for me, it was, "What's undone is undone." I just had to accept that some things were not going to get done.

So now here I am in my hometown, staying at my mom's house. What's undone is undone. Those chores are behind me now. It's a slower pace. I sit and listen to my mom. I sit and listen to my grandmother. This is what we do. We stop and listen to those around us.

I am here in this small town, where families have raised their children for generations. My grandmother tells me of when she was young, how they would gather greens from the woods for food. It was the Depression, and people needed food. I see two teenage girls walking in the woods. It occurs to me that they may be the daughters of my high school classmates.

Life goes on. These houses have stood for decades and centuries. Generation after generation, children went to school, grew up, got married, had children, and their children went to school, continuing the cycle. Feel the age of these hills. Footsteps treaded these hills hundreds of years ago, and footsteps tread them today.

I stand outside at dusk, watching the crescent moon in the west. The bare trees are silhoutted against the sky. The trees in our front yard seem to reach much higher into the sky than the trees on the hill beyond them. The trees on the hill are actually on higher ground. It is only because the trees in the yard are closer that they look larger. And so it is with life. That which is closest to us looks so large -- the tasks at work, the house to be cleaned, the bills to be paid. But if we look beyond, we see that today is only one small part of a much larger pattern.

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