Yesterday I read this article on Zen Habits about making time to read.
It is finally sinking in. How much may be accomplished in a series of small steps and habits.
First thing this morning, I spend 30 minutes reading one of the short stories in this book, Signals: New and Selected Stories by Tim Gautreaux, and I am reminded of how much I love this simple pleasure. I think about the ritual of reading to my sons when they were young, and about the pleasant bedtime routine my husband and I share of reading before bed even now as we are middle-aged. I think about how I chose this book because I love the photographs on the cover.
I decide to extend the philosophy of tackling big changes in small ways.
Steady rain throughout the summer has the weeds trying to take over the flower beds. I set my sights on two stretches of the yard to weed and clean up. On my hands and knees, trowel nearby, I tug at the weeds and they surrender easily from the rich, damp soil. I am shaded by the tall oaks and the sun is not yet hot. The work goes well. My husband joins me and we work in companionable silence. I gather small pieces of the landscape – a feather, a tiny morsel of moss growing in half an acorn, lichens, a snip of ivy I mean to look up (little stems with hanging bells nestle in the center). I pause to take a picture.
We stop for brunch. I make sandwiches of bacon, egg, and cheese on brioche rolls with fresh peaches and hot coffee. We sit on the screened-in deck and plan out our day. I talk about my feelings, about things I am wrestling with and he listens and reassures me.
I read this beautiful post on play by Chantelle Grady and I love her photograph and her wise thoughts and most especially, the perspective of her five-year old son.
I move deliberately from one task to another, allowing myself to sink into the day, my own kind of Sabbath. In this way, work does not seem like work, at least not in any unpleasant way. Sorting and rinsing snap peas for dinner, setting chicken to marinade in buttermilk for fried chicken, shucking corn . . . the small pieces of the day . . . photographed in the gorgeous light of the garage.