Punting down the river of life

Watching life drift by is neither uninventive nor unrewarding. Nor is it for the pusillanimous. It requires application. I am gripped to this day by a quip I overheard many years ago from a stodgy bearded intellect in undergraduate studies at Glendon Hall. If I recall correctly the portly chap said something to the affect that the hardest thing to do is nothing. I’ve learned to accept the witty remark. Yet too often we mistakenly subsume ourselves beneath needless preoccupation at the expense of warranted diversion. And, yes, we do need occasional diversion from our many worldly preoccupations. In the summertime especially when the balmy air and fleeting white clouds invite life’s tranquil and muted pace, it behooves us to reckon with Nature, the buzz of the bees, the chirping of the birds, the perfume of the wild flowers, the hint of a breeze and the solitude of a waterway.

The evocative stage for this fulfillment needn’t be cause for hesitation. The imagination is an extraordinary and capable resource, the liquor of life. The imperative is to adopt a moment of complete inutility – sans objective, sans purpose, sans prescience. Just let the world go by. Succumb to your immediate translations. Marvel at the industry and engineering of what surrounds you. Perhaps even laugh or smile at the blanketed absurdity of life, its twisted convolutions and astounding coincidences. Remember, you’re on a trip. There is no point saving the scrutiny for the funeral. Time waits for no one.

Living as we do in a rural environment there are luckily countless opportunities at hand for picturesque absorption. My heart is in any event spirited by the mention of the Village of Rosebank and the image of wild roses along a verdant glassy stream. There are in addition a multitude of parks, waterfalls and rapids sufficient to accommodate those seeking seclusion and respite. Sometimes it’s simply a deck chair in the back yard, blinded by the sunshine, drifting aimlessly. Have you considered how you got here? Where you’re going? Are you doing what you like? Do you like what you do?

Poring over the matter of blissful meandering is not a topic I regularly pursue. But I find putting on the brakes from time to time is beneficial. The process reacquaints one with subjects frequently overlooked as we manage our way through the avalanche of life and living. And it never hurts to have a strategic reminder about those things we might take for granted. It would be an error to suggest that each of us is happy. At the very least we may have something for which to be grateful. And if that all fails then there is the value of seeing what’s happening in the rest of the world where either we discover extraordinary differences or remarkable similarities. Or maybe we settle for just punting down the river of life. It is after all the supreme privilege of living to do nothing, to languish and let the drama unfold.