I nearly didn’t go to the park today.
The routine is: finish work, drive to Mum’s to collect dog, stop for a cuppa (with option on a ginger biscuit), have a chat, remark on Judge Rinder’s latest case (Judge Rinder having replaced McGyver as early evening viewing), stop dog bouncing long enough to attach lead, head home – with a visit to Blenheim Park en route.
However, it was approaching 8pm and I was very aware of the amount of Stuff that I Needed to Be Doing. Promoting the next Southend Soup, advertising a charity quiz night, and, doubtless, Getting Very Cross on Twitter.
But, I do love my dog. And she was ricocheting about the car like a pinball that’s had one too many espressos. So I relented. Just a quick one then. A few throws of the ball.
I do love my dog.
She makes me pause. And remember I’m alive.
It’s a simple park. Effectively four fields – two mowed, two left wild – a small ‘swings’ area and a fenced-in overgrown pond.
It’s full of wildlife. When you look. (Full of lots of biting things too, but we’ll not worry about those.)
We walked past the roses, by the swings. The fragrant roses of myriad colours. (Always worth stopping for a sniff.)
We walked on a bit more, down towards the pond.
And then I caught sight of the setting sun.
And I stopped.
The orange sun was low in the sky, beyond the row of elder oaks. It was partly obscured by fluffy cumulus clouds – tinged pink against the baby blue sky. The clouds were placed just right, so that sunbeams fanned upwards in a display of majestic beauty.
This in itself was a sight worthy of pause.
But that wasn’t all.
Swifts swooped and shrieked. Dancing in the sunbeams.
My favourite birds. Our summer visitors. Here for such a short time. And, as is true for so many species nowadays, in steep decline. But they’re here for now.
And so I stood.
And thought about nothing else but what I was seeing. What I was hearing. The birds, the rustling of oak leaves in the breeze.
We moved on. Stopping occasionally to be mindful. (Well, I was being Mindful. I suspect Lexi lives fully in every moment anyway.)
We met a bulldog with her bulldog puppy. (BULLDOG PUPPY!) There were some humans with them, but neither me nor Lexi were particularly interested in them. (BULLDOG PUPPY!)
A 10 minute walk took more than half hour. I drove home to the Eagles on the radio. It seemed appropriate.
So glad I stopped off at the park. Wasn’t going to. But I did. Oh, what I would have missed!
It’s so easy to be swept away by commitments, obligations, worries. There’s work, there’s politics, there’s suffering and injustice to be doing something about. There’s general Stuff to Do, Things to Organise, Places to Be. We’re busy people. Stressed people. Distracted people.
But there really is always time to stop, and smell the roses and marvel at the swifts. Everything else can wait.
The swifts won’t be here forever.
And neither will you.
But they’re here now.
And so are you.
Enjoy the moment.