The joy of going along and not bothering.

I’m supposed to be writing a column today.  But I’m not.  I suspect it’s just me being rather unfocused and undisciplined.  Or perhaps it’s the child in me being unruly and interested only in playing and messing about (I think she’s about four).

It began as a day of good intentions.  But then I thought maybe I’d sit outside in the sun for just a minute and have some tea, and I started watching Daphne – the new-ish little dog that came to live with me a few months ago.  She was digging a hole in the backyard.  There was no purpose to it that I could see, other than it felt good on her toes to scratch down through the cool damp ground, to get her shoulders stretching and her little bum bouncing to a rhythm that only she could hear; and the smell of it was rich and the shower of dirt that fell all around her was like a confetti of joyfulness.  I walked over and stood beside her as we looked down into the fresh hole together and admired it.

And then I noticed that all around the hole there were multitudes of tiny blossoms growing.  Little fairy-sized blooms of yellow and white, some blue, and one very dark pink one.  I know they are considered weeds by some, but they reminded me of what I think the very first flowers to appear on earth must have looked like all those millions of years ago.  It was something I had read about a long time ago, so I thought I should look it up again, just to make sure.  But first, I decided to pick a few of them to keep in water on my kitchen windowsill.  

So as I was rounding the corner with a tiny vase in my hand in which to put my tiny blossoms, I saw wild violets filling an old forsaken flower pot and spilling over into the cracks of the driveway and the unused plant beds at its sides.  I wondered if they would transplant into my window boxes that just happened to be waiting for something to nurture.  And so I dug some of the wild violets up roots and all with my bare hands and carefully placed them into a nearby container.  The hole that was left behind in the ground looked a lot like the one that Daphne had made – the earth smelled as sweet and fresh, and I thought my fingers must have felt like her paws, muddy and young.

The new transplants needed watering, of course, so I pulled out the hose and happened to notice whole families of bees hovering all around the bird baths and I thought how they should probably be freshened for the bees as well as the birds.  But Daphne wanted to help, too, so rather than just filling them, we let them run over and made puddles where we splashed our feet and made footprints and toe-prints – both hers and mine.  Even big dog Liam joined in then, although he preferred to just watch the bees in fascination as they bathed and drank.  So I had to take a minute to sit down with him to listen to the bee music and watch their dance together.

But soon I was feeling another tug at my conscience – I needed to be writing a column.  But I wasn’t.  And so I started to get up, but looked up instead.  And I saw that Nature was doing somewhat the same thing as the dogs and I were doing today.  There she was, dancing with tree tops and winking at the sun, with no purpose, no goal, just joy.  She has her busy times, of course, what with pollen duties and rainstorms, pushing up flowers and vegetables and new tree sprouts, helping bird eggs hatch and creating lightning that refuels the air.  But every now and then, even Nature just plays and messes about – simply for the joy of it.  

Wiser minds than mine have put words to it, like A.A. Milne:  “Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

I suspect that was true for me today, when I was supposed to be writing a column.  But didn’t.