Heading into 2013, let's back away from that cliff
I am in a business in which we're required to meet deadlines.
I have never missed one – guess the name “deadline” is a bit intimidating.
The rush is not as severe as it was when we put out all the news pages from about 7 to 10 in the morning.
But the rush can creep up on you.
You might be thinking everything is going together well and then bam and the rush is on!
The irony in all of this is that I personally hate to rush.
We need to learn from nature, but somehow we never do.
I called this column “Meandering” because it expresses a philosophy to which I adhere, or try to do so.
The world doesn't like it. (Does that sound paranoid?)
People like to rush forward, operate in crisis mode – fiscal is not the only cliff we force ourselves to live on.
In the end of the movie “The Field,” the character played by Richard Harris is seen chasing a large flock of sheep toward a high cliff. We are those sheep, willing to follow our fellow sheep to the nearest cliff as whatever prodding, usually less obvious than a crazy farmer.
Part of that is being American, in the sense that we have a right to challenge everything. But part of the cliff hanging has do with our culture's insistence that “better: is just around the corner. If we push ourselves to the edge, we will breath the lofty area of the best – as long as we don't fall off.
Recently a woman I know introduced me to someone else by saying I “write a column in the paper about growing older.”
She is younger.
My first thought – though I did not articulate it – was that growing older is only a part of what I write about. And then I thought how true the description is because I wrote about my life and growing older is a part of everyone's life.
So, stepping away from deadlines and cliff-dwelling, I offer this alternative.
Zen Buddhists often say that even after what they call enlightenment, one must still chop wood and carry water.
But – to add to that – I think that the trick is to pay attention to such mundane things as chopping wood and carrying water, as well as washing the clothes, cleaning the car, cutting the grass, talking to co-workers and family. Well, you get it, pay attention to just about everything and realize, “Hey, this IS living and it is not so bad.”.
Think about it and I think you will agree that some of your best memories come from those times when you were absolutely paying attention.
One time driving down I-79 from Erie with my sister in the car, we saw a yellow roadside sign that said, simply “Bump Ahead.” I knew we had both looked at it.
A short distance on down the road, I said “Tree ahead.” And then “Car Ahead.” Then, “Bird Ahead.”
And we both starting laughing hysterically at the absurdity of the state putting up a sign to tell us there was a bump ahead, as indeed they were all over the place.
The funny situation, I think, came from paying attention. There is a saying that the “devil is in the detail.” Well it seems that the angelic is more likely in paying attention to the details in life.
For instance, this column – decidedly not angelic – was suggested to me by a little bird.
I was sitting on the coach on a recent snowy afternoon, reading. I happened to look up to see a bright red cardinal on a tree limb outside the window probably waiting his turn at the feeder.
I thought: This is it. This is what is important. More than the book I was reading, than what was on TV, than the anxiety I felt about something at work.
As we move our way through 2013, let's pay attention, let's make those tiny memories, and let's stay away from those cliffs unless it is just to appreciate the scenery.
Meandering appears Fridays. To share your thoughts on this column (or on most anything) with News Editor Mike O'Hare, write to the Leader Times, P.O. Box 978, Kittanning, PA 16201 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Taillon headed for surgery, Richard traded
- Tiny black weevils booming in W.Pa.
- Pirates can’t overcome long rain delay, Indians in interleague setback
- Russian winger Plotnikov could join Penguins in August
- New Penguin Kessel’s shot is what makes him special
- America’s path to freedom reflected in region’s numerous historic sites
- Ex-teammates say Kessel unfairly criticized
- Youngwood man’s crash knocks out power in Monessen
- Fun-seekers won’t let a Pittsburgh regatta without races get them down
- Jewish congregations dwindling, forced to mull viability of worship sites
- Gorman: Barnstorming tour bigger than baseball