We live in the small community of Millwood. If we are to be some place on time we must observe train schedules – Millwood train or the Pines train, between 8:30 – 9 a.m. Today, instead of rushing to get in the car to leave by 8:20 a.m., for my 9 a.m. class at the gym only 4 miles away, (and miss both trains), I skipped it all. I skipped visiting my mom as well.
This left me in the kitchen, pouring a second (or a third?) cup of coffee, and looking into the back yard, where I saw one beautiful quail. Then another. And another. You can’t just tell a bunch of quail to stand still so you can count them the way you might when you’re coordinating a field trip with school kids or Brownie Scouts. I did finally count 10 sitting on our back fence.
As if by magic, smaller birds in the fat evergreen in that corner of the yard began to flit in and out of the evergreen, and then up onto the fence with them. I had to remind myself that these were quail, not hawks, which would have sent our smaller birds dashing off to the neighbor’s yard.
As I finished my coffee, I thought back to schedules I’ve met for myself and others this week – YMCA classes, Dr. appt. for my mother, scheduled walks, compost lecture, library trips, a luncheon tomorrow, things to buy (must not forget the bird seed), a must stop at Good Will to ‘off’ and not ‘buy’ things. Nothing like the schedules I used to keep when I worked. But still enough to fill my calendar to overflowing. I look back at my life and wonder how I did all that I did as a younger version of myself, trying to squeeze in writing time, care for a family, work part time, and return to graduate school with a teaching schedule.
Then I laugh, remembering the 4 a.m. grocery lists I’d write out, buying non-perishables on a lunch hour to stash in the car trunk, perishables to pick up on the way home, and more. Now that’s a hectic life. It still seems necessary to pare down the little I do now to find time to commune with the quail in my back yard, which makes me wonder why we continue to keep ourselves overly busy.
Habit, probably, until we learn to pencil in time for ourselves. Maybe it was my 3rd. cup of coffee this morning but a long-ago thought reappeared – look for a pussy willow plant for the front flower bed. To have quail sightings and pussy willow thoughts in the same morning, with an unhurried cup of coffee. Now that’s what I call abundance.