Friday, April 24, 2015

Stand and Stare

     There was a portion of my life several years ago when I felt as if I was continually rushing from one event to another with no time between to absorb any of it—no time to process the daily data. The fuller my schedule, the emptier I felt. As I was driving with my family to the next item on our schedule one evening, gazing out the car window and feeling a little forlorn, I whispered to myself:

Hurry scurry rush and flurry
Gotta get there, gotta start
Gotta finish then depart.

     I knew it wasn’t the kind of life I wanted to lead, but, at the time, I didn’t feel as though I had any other choice.

     How thankful I am that many aspects of my life have slowed down to a turtle’s gait. There are all kinds of people in this world, and I am glad of it, but some of those people would be bored to sobs with the pace I like to keep.

     God made critters that skitter and scuttle and scoot, but he also made snails…and the sloth, and pronounced all of them good. I used to feel guilty for sitting still when there was so much to be done. I don’t anymore. There is always more to be done and, the reality is, it is never going to be done. Meanwhile, I have often shredded my soul trying to finish it. Work is good. Work is necessary, but so is rest. So, while I do not advocate sloth, I do recommend slow—the periodic kind of slow that enables one to breathe.

     I used to dream of possessing whole handfuls of days in which to think, to write, or to linger; and now I have them. They are a gift. The circumstances that make the gift possible can sometimes carry a weight of loneliness, but I don’t feel emptied by them. How could I when I finally have time to stand and stare?


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

               ~ William Henry Davies ~

Song of the Lark by Jules Breton - Art Institute of Chicago


  1. I would be with her and with you in your quiet moments, clutching my sickle. After any amount of social interaction, I feel as though I have careered off without my head, like a car losing its caravan. It takes me ages of pottering about to catch up with myself.

  2. I'm smiling, a sort of relief to find I'm not the only one! thank-you. also for sharing a poem that is a sort of motto for life to me. God put SO much around us I don't want to miss!

    Really enjoyed the thoughts you shared!

  3. truly lovely poem and rather in keeping with my latest post. as Thoreau said, "What Are You Busy About?"

  4. A turtle's gait, I love that! I recommend slow too and don't feel guilty about it. In fact, I kind of like for life now to be a nice calm boring rut.

    You have chosen the better path, I believe. Yes, we have to work to survive, pay the bills. But that time to stand still and stare that you have written about so beautifully here is vital.

  5. Quieting the nagging voice that insists that you should be ticking something off the list before you can reward yourself with a rest - the rest that never comes. That's the trick that eludes me. Maybe stopping to read posts like yours is the closest I come to repose.

  6. Wonderful thoughts...I have learned to enjoy the empty days without appointments, places to go, people to meet. Whenever I have one, I consider it my opportunity to create the perfect day for myself. And it usually works out that way :)

  7. i think i have made my leisure an art unto itself! maybe i wasn't an underachiever after all. maybe i have always just been an artist of leisure. :)
    i haven't been to nib's end in ages. and i just enjoyed almost an hour reading posts i've missed. i love the mossy green felt balls... and that you keep a picture of the girl inside that's you... near your desk. and i'm so glad you put smooth stones together in a bowl so they won't be lonely.
    we are kindred souls in many ways. though i was a tomboy too ... never could i have picked up a snake! but my brother and i built 'forts' and i had a secret place in a hollow old cottonwood tree. just the right size for a 7 year old with new teeth and coltish legs and a need to be alone sometimes.
    thank you for this beautiful blog that is the b word i can't remember! little snatches of everyday life that is... well. it's simply lovely. ♥

  8. This post seems to have slipped through the net but as pure coincidence I have just written a post on a similar vein. I am grateful every day that I don't have to rush about and feel stressed. I like my life to be leisurely and very much like the lady in the picture - I even have a sickle should I need it.