Monday September 01, 2014

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Survey results are meant for general information only, and are not based on recognised statistical methods.




Increments

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The grass is higher than our mower likes to eat.

Even when walking through, it doesn’t make my boots wet. Thick dandelion stems clog the mulch bag corridor, leaving a mess on the ground.

Princess watches, begging to help, and moves branches or toys from around the sandbox.

“It’s like vacuuming!” she cries. “It looks so nice!”

She empties the mulch bag on a path running through a strawberry patch, and is proud as punch to do it.

It starts to sprinkle again, and I put the mower away. Surveying the little patch we’ve vacuumed versus the tall mixture of heads up grass and dandelions remaining, what we’d accomplished is a tiny increment.

I am learning not to dismiss the tiny increment as nothing. The increment is not excrement. It is the microcosm of possibility, the beginning, and a great beginning to boot.

Farmer started fixing fence on a tiny bit of pasture surrounding a widening slough. At breakfast, he said he’d be glad when it was done; that he sure wished it was done already.

According to Princess’ assessment, Farmer was grumpy when he said it. That chore, alongside everything else that requires his attention these days, tipped him toward overwhelming stress.

Do blue dragon flies say this about the mosquito population, and do bees bark about their work in the yellow blankets of blooming dandelions? I’m doubtful. Humans are likely alone in our preoccupation with the magnitude and heavy responsibility of our workloads. This preoccupation creates our stress.

I’ve always much preferred to work with someone who enjoyed the process of work, instead of dwelling on the less than ideal aspects. In hindsight, I’m becoming conscious of how increment challenged my perspective has been historically.

A few years ago, I used to wake up in a panic, already reviewing that list of “Must be dones,” and rushing the children into their routines. It was a comparably miserable existence versus what I currently enjoy.

Time is required to amend soil, create ideal animal habitats and grow any vegetable. All these are incremental processes. Like the development of our own personal awareness, building relationships, or growing bone cells, learning to live happily in increments means peace with the fact that few things are instant.

Except for that flash of brilliance suddenly dawning in an instant of inspiration, relatively nothing of value is ours, except in increments.


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