The alarm went off at 6. A creaky arthritic arm snaked out from under the blankets to pound the snooze bar. Twice. These days, I go to bed exhausted, and wake up in the same state. Somewhere around noon, with the help of my two-ounce daily allowance of caffeinated beverage, my eyes will open all the way—for about two hours. Then I float back down into that semi-fogged world of bleary-eyed sleep deprivation I’ve inhabited since July 1.
This morning, I dragged my butt down the stairs after my shower…about fifteen minutes later than I had planned. I wanted to get to the café at 7…a half-hour earlier than I really needed to be there. So I was fifteen minutes late for being a half-hour early. And now I needed to hurry out the door if I wanted to get there in time to let the key-less cook in for the start of his shift.
The sprinklers had been turned on, and mewling livestock had been rewarded with bowls of kibbles slid under their noses. Dog had been sent out the back door to take care of business. Chores accomplished, I collected keys, purse, satchel and prepared to fly out to the car. But the kitchen window was open, just a crack…and the soft calls of the goldfinches hovering around the seed sock derailed my businesslike exit.
My birds! The drip irrigation was still dripping, and I have set up one nozzle to drip into the bird bath, refreshing the water and (hopefully) keeping it from turning too green and scummy in the summer heat. One little yellow bird was merrily bathing under that tiny drip. Fluffing wings, wagging tail feathers, scattering tiny droplets in a joyful shower on the other birds waiting their turn. I was lost in the moment. For several seconds, I couldn’t have moved, couldn’t have dragged myself away from that vignette if the house was on fire. I consciously ignored the little voice that droned that I didn’t have time for this…that I was going to be late. And the thought crossed my mind, about taking time. Taking time to smell the roses.
For several years, I have not had to take time. The roses were there. I had the time. I smelled them.
Now, I have no time. It’s all used up. There is not a moment to spare. If I’m not rushing around putting out fires, walking tightropes, planning changes, poring over invoices and schedules, I’m cramming in a couple hours of sleep in between. And those "boring" days when I had oodles and oodles of time float just outside my grasp. As unattainable as the Grail.
And now I get it. The part about taking the time. So I took it.
I watched, enchanted, while that little bird enjoyed his ablutions. In less than a minute, he finished and flitted away. But those few stolen seconds sent me off with a smile and a calm that changed the entire fabric of my day.
Time. Take some. For the important things.