On Doing Nothing...
There is a Spanish proverb that speaks to my soul. I’m not Spanish. Rather, I am “English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and Native American/Cherokee." In other words, I am a garden-variety American. Despite that, I am seduced by this very Spanish sentiment: "How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward." Ah, the lure of the hammock in the golden afternoon! Oh, for a life that includes a daily siesta!
When my life gets especially busy, running from one activity to the next, I think of that proverb, and yearn wistfully for the idyllic lifestyle many of us imagine Europeans to live. Surely their children play soccer, or more accurately, football. Surely there are ballet lessons, martial arts, or music instruction. But one imagines a long leisurely lunch, quiet conversation with a loved-one, or blissful solitude. One daydreams of pristine linens and silky duvets, a Mediterranean breeze through an open window, and the sweet escape of an afternoon nap.
This longing for long hours of “nothing to do” is a strange sentiment coming from one who has yet to master the art of the Sunday afternoon nap. I seem to wake groggy and impatient, and ready for my other 5 or 6 hours of sleep. Or worse, I lie awake the entire time, unable to doze at all, thinking of all the many things around here that are half-done, if not completely undone by the hands of a little mischief-maker. Perhaps, what I am really yearning for is the ability to relax and to accept that I will never keep everything in our home spotless and perfect.
Perhaps I am wishing I really was the type to embody that Spanish proverb. In the meantime, my cats have got it all figured out. If I live with them long enough, maybe a little bit of their langour and grace will rub off on me.
photos by Aisling, Autumn 2006