Nearly every day since I arrived in WV, someone has told me - either over the phone or via email - that they're a little jealous of me for being able to make this choice to get away. There seems to be a common thread - at least among the type of people with whom I surround myself - of desire to simplify. Something about the repeated reminder has started to affect the way I approach my days. It's probably a little melodramatic, but I've almost started to feel I'm not just doing this for myself but that, instead, I'm doing it a little for all of us. Yea, silly, I know. But it feels that way tonight. Like since I've had the gift of this time alone and some have not, I have to smell a few extra roses for more than just myself.
And so today in the middle of work - while changing from one project to another - I discovered, quite by surprise, that I had in fact not been working at all. I had been watching the rain through the window. For longer than I remember ever watching the rain before.
I couldn't remember the last time I'd actually done that. Just sat and watched the rain. And the trees that made up the backdrop for that rain. And the grass which is starting to become quite waterlogged by that rain, by my estimations.
Okay, yea, there was this one time, and I was with my friend Sean, and it was late at night and there was a storm and he was playing Mozart's Requiem, and we were eating Kraft macaroni and cheese. Ask me how many years ago that was. I'll tell you: it was probably more than 15 years ago. So yea, I probably more than needed to watch some rain fall for no reason in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon. I think we probably aren't supposed to wait 15 years before we watch the rain fall for no reason.
One friend asked me, via phone today, if I think I'll be able to take the lessons back with me when I return to "normal life" and it occurred to me that I'm not quite certain I'm actually learning lessons. Okay, sure, I'm learning what it feels like to appreciate simple things more. And I'm learning what it feels like to actually pay attention to things I take for granted. But I think she was talking about my focus and my work rhythms. I told her I don't think so. Because, so far at least, I don't know that I've learned anything about focus and I don't know that my rhythms are really that different, when it comes to the way I approach my work. What I told her, and what I'm pretty sure I believe, is that I've merely removed enough of the ordinary distractions from a typical day that I have more time to allow these kinds of freshly-observed rhythms to be more appealing to me. I appreciate more simple things because I've removed some of the more complex factors. Or something. So maybe what I've learned is that I have to keep finding ways to remove myself from the busy-ness of life? But how can we do that without taking extreme steps? I'm not sure I know that, either.
It occurs to me that what I'm doing here is a stream of consciousness that most of you would probably leave hidden between the pages of your journal, if you ever bothered to write it down at all. I sat down to write tonight, and this is what came. Maybe none of it matters. Maybe it's just me trying to get my brain around whether or not, at the end of my time here when I've returned to something more familiar in my daily/weekly routine, anything will have changed. Will I approach life differently? Will I handle things better, maybe make better decisions, maybe continue to value simple things more than before?
Guess we'll have to wait and see.