Intentionality, Simplifying

Taking the Ordinary Time

The walk I took yesterday morning deserves its own blog post. It was that lovely. However, it’s loveliness put me in the right frame of mind for other thoughts and I won’t restrict myself to the walk itself. Over the weekend I visited my brother and his family in western Michigan. Their home is situated on a country road in a hollow surrounded by hundreds of acres of cornfields and century old pines, maples and oaks. The setting is impossibly and inherently nostalgic. Having attended Mass the evening before, I took advantage of the quietness of Sunday morning by sneaking out for a walk before anyone else in the house stirred. It was early enough for the dew to still soak the leaves of every plant in existence but late enough for the sun to be halfway to its full height and heat. The picture above is not one I took on this walk but might well have been. The sunlight poured through trees tall and old enough to pass as Ents and it draped the surface of vast cornfields in yellow splendor. I set my iPod to shuffle through five Matt Maher albums and trekked over the broken concrete of the old roads for an hour.

Upon my return I tried to capture for myself why this walk was so gloriously refreshing. I hadn’t taken a solitary, early morning walk in a few months… maybe I was rediscovering something I’d forgotten I love. The exercise was edifying… but it isn’t as if I’d been motionless in the previous days – hours had been passed in the backyard pool with my nephews and niece. As I wondered over it, my mind drifted to thoughts of the coming week. I searched my brain for what I had scheduled in the days and nights. What would fill my evenings? Anything significant happening at work? Events to attend or people to see? I came up with nothing. Nothing. A possible dinner with friends passing through on Monday evening, but that was only tentative. Relief settled over my skin like a cool sheet on a humid night and I smiled over my discovery.

What was particularly extraordinary about my walk that morning was that it was ordinary. It was an ordinary thing to do – taking a walk – but because I had the time and the energy and the uncluttered mind for it, it had the potential to be extraordinary. Suddenly I could look forward to this week with great delight. Having time to do ordinary things could be counted as extraordinary because of how seldom it is the case. All the things I’ve been thinking I ought to take time to do, in the next weeks I might actually have the time to take for some of them. Time for the taking – now that’s worth a smile and a sigh.

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