Saturday, October 23, 2010


There is a small yellow note on my desk. A one word note.


I had written that note several weeks ago and stuck it on the face of Warren's alarm clock after it unexpectedly went off at 6:00 one morning instead of the usual 6:45.


After Warren reset his alarm clock, the sticky note drifted downstairs to my desk as part of the household flotsam and jetsam.


In recent weeks, I have looked back through my year and a half of blogging, rereading posts here and there. It has been enlightening.

I have characterized this year as being a hectic one, grumbling often about the general pace and press of the days. It has become my litany. When friends and colleagues ask how things are going, I automatically say "busy." When Warren and I grab a few minutes together, I say, usually with a note of resignation, "things are so hectic right now." I am a faithful attendee of the Church of the Perpetually Tired.

So the "surprise" revelation in looking back over the last nineteen months of posts is that the pace of my life has been a constant theme. I have been singing a one word aria - hectic - much of the time.


Yesterday I had a handful of meetings, then joined a friend for coffee late in the afternoon. Afterwards I met up with Warren at his office and we came home together. Before leaving the Symphony office, he put his hands on my shoulders, looked at me closely, and said "you look tired" (meaning "more tired than usual"). So after we got home (and got the timpani being rented to the college out the door with all the attendant tasks) and finally moved towards sitting down for supper, Warren scoured up two candles, placed them on the table, lit them, and doused the overhead light.


Candles immediately introduce a note of quiet even when things are moving fast. They soften the light and the mood and the pace. I found myself chewing less rapidly, talking more thoughtfully, taking the time to listen and reflect rather than just rushing to the next observation. Warren and I both lingered at the table before moving on to the dishes.

From there, we carried the mood into the evening. Warren read and listened to Debussy to prepare for an upcoming performance. I read and felt the mood peel off my layers of tiredness, leaving me ready for sleep. We looked together at the Crate and Barrel holiday catalog that just arrived, with me shaking my head (and shivering slightly) at the frosty themes (gold, silver, white) that dominate this year. (I feel about Crate and Barrel like I do about Ikea - glossy, chic, and who lives like that?)

This morning, Warren left early for an all-morning Symphony meeting. I've spent some of the morning reading, daydreaming, and watching the sun rise in a magnificent spill of liquid gold. The first load of laundry is on the rinse cycle, breakfast dishes are waiting in the sink.

As I move into and through today, I want to hold onto the quiet of the candles, the rhythm of the household, the power of the sunrise. I want to - no, need to - stop every now and then to take the pulse of the day. I need to change my internal message from "busy" to "take a moment." I need to share thoughts with Warren other than "things are so hectic right now." I need to skip the services at the Church of the Perpetually Tired.

The reminder is on my desk. It's just a little note. Just a one word note.



Sharon said...

Reset. Such a simple word, yet such a powerful word as well. As always, this is a great post, allowing anyone who reads it to
s l o w down.

Hopefully your life will slow down to a normal really have a very full life!

Ellen said...

I think you're right on track with the change of attitude. It's interesting to me that this year when you've felt so consistently overwhelmed or rushed has ended with your best health in a long time and such a momentous event as your son's wedding. Maybe life is the pace it is supposed to be and the challenge is simply to enjoy each moment before it flits away.

April said...

Ellen, your comment caused Warren to say "just what your husband has been telling you." You scored big points with him! My friend Linda's theory is that I am in a stable, positive, loving relationship, and that has encouraged my body to regroup and rebuild.

I still say you have to slow the pace down, at least from time to time, and savor the here and the now.

Elizabeth Able said...

I really, really like this.

I am the working poor. said...

Whatever is working, I hope the good vibes continue. Wishing you health and peace. :)

Tonya said...

I have said it before and will say it, my friend, need to get all your wonderful words published. Now where is my reset button??