A Group of People

Clouds Missed

In busyness, life, listening on February 16, 2011 at 4:09 pm

By John Bergquist

I have been speeding by, my attention taken by life.

Using that phrase for busyness itself is odd, “Life” as if it is an excuse for missing out on all that is around us.  We use it as well describe freedom, health and resurrection.  Conversations overheard include “I have been taken out by life”  “that’s life” and others that make it seem as if life is too much and results in busyness.  I read an article this week that explains the adrenaline and addictiveness of busyness.  Have you spent time around someone who is?  They don’t notice subtleties in music or a person hurting.  They miss a lot.  I have approached that state lately.

What it does to me is unsettling.

I slowed down last week to notice a cloud.

The scenery along Old highway 99 in the middle of the Willamette Valley Oregon, presents it’s travelers with two choices, frantically speed between cars and trucks to pass, or drive slow and at a pace that allows for taking in the fields of green, red barns, and shades of endless gray. I found myself with a little time, so I chose to slow down.

What caught my attention was one cloud after the next and the light highlighting their deep caverns and high peaks.  It struck me then how long it had been since I had taken a long look at a stream, mountain, woods or a cloud.  What else had I missed?  After noticing that first cloud my mind was awoken to other details around me on the drive.

The answer to that question was, too much.

When I sneak away to a river to spend some time fly-fishing, I will set down my rod on the bank, step into the stream and place my hands palms down on the cool water.  I do this symbolically to stop the crazy flow of my own life and enter into the space of the river.  The cool water and surface of little triplets are so different from anything in my daily world that it shocks me into what I call “river time”.  I begin to pay attention to the dipper flitting up and down the stream, stopping shortly to dive underwater for a caddis, a family of mergansers that in commotion follow in a long line across a pool. Doing this long enough, I begin to slough off layers.  Often emotions walled up behind momentum will undam.

In that moment I will once again become grounded and life no longer is a term I use to explain stress. It is something I want more of and openly receive it in abundance.

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  1. Slowing life down to a pace where details can be savored… good stuff!

  2. So glad that the realization of missing things and being too busy came to you last week, John. And thank you for sharing with us. While it can be exciting and stimulating and energetic being in that space, it can also be draining and isolating and sad. Reconnecting to the rest of the world, be it familial or natural, is so important to keep us grounded in the other things that matter in life. My daughter and I will often play cloud games for just that reason. Just last week we noticed one that couldn’t have passed for anything else other than a sea horse. It was perfect. And the colors and light dancing around the other clouds was indescribably beautiful. I’m always amazed at how simply being out in nature can re-ground me…and it can happen in as little as a few minutes. Just breathe.

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