Monday, July 21, 2008

The importance of being idle

I don't have much to write about. Honestly my life is pretty boring right now. You're probably clicking over to someone else's blog right now, and I wouldn't blame you. For a while there I was really fired up about summer and all the FUN that we were going to have, all the adventures we were going to go on, etc. Now I'm tired. And I'm hot. And I am way pregnant. I find myself lying on things, fanning myself with a Wall-E book a lot. I stare at the giant calendar in the kid's playroom, the kind that kindergarten teachers have with the huge numbers that fit inside of pockets, and try to figure out what day it is. Does it matter? Who cares? I go outside to water the plants and see how big the tomato plants are getting. We started them from little seeds bought at the Dollar Spot at Target in March, back when we still had to wear coats if we were going to buy something at the Dollar Spot. We put the tiny Dollar Spot pots on our living room window sill because it was still too cold for them outside. Someone (I can't be sure who, but I have an idea) thought it would be cool to pull up the little sprouts as soon as they started to grow, and I would come into the living room to find them lying, corpse-like, roots exposed on the windowsill next to their pot. It made me so angry. Livid! What a silly thing to be angry about, but at the time it was a huge deal. At the time I was newly pregnant and I really related to those little sprouts, trying so earnestly to take root. Now, the plants are big and hearty. Their stems are thick and have little hairs that stand out all over them. They have yellow flowers now which bear the promise of future tomatoes. Yet, we still have to wait. All this time has passed and there is still more time to be passed before we arrive at destination tomatoes. Once again, I totally relate.

The tomato plants are growing, my tummy is expanding, Charlie needs a haircut. The days are slowly drifting by, but I still feel like summer is never going to end. Part of me wants it to and part of me doesn't. Judging from my blog entries, you might be led to believe that every day is an educational thrill a minute. For every blog entry I've written about some fun summer activity we've done, there have been about six days in between where we spent the time at home; me folding laundry and intermittently groaning about how giant the baby is, the kids playing out one of their crazy imaginary scenarios where they pretend to be lifeguards at the beach or drive their babies around in convertible cars. These exciting days are peppered with trips to the grocery store and maybe a visit to the pool where we always seem to be the only people there. We try our best to follow all the pool rules as we swim under the unflagging gaze of a very stoic lifeguard, every word we say magnified by the water and the lack of other people. It's not a bad life, but for some reason I'm ready to get on with things and get back to "real" life.

One thing I've noticed though is that all this unstructured time has been good for us. It has fed my spirit and I feel sort of happy (when I'm not complaining about the heat, or the giant baby, or the tyrant of a lifeguard.) I've come to the conclusion that a little boredom is good for the soul. I just read the following quote today (it's about writing, but don't worry, it applies to lots of things): "If you write, good ideas must come welling up into you so that you have something to write. If good ideas do not come at once, or for a long time, do not be troubled at all. Wait for them. Put down the little ideas however insignificant they are. But do not feel, anymore, guilty about idleness and solitude...if it is the dreamy idleness that children have, an idleness when you walk alone for a long, long time, or take a long, dreamy time at dressing, or lie in bed at night and thoughts come and go, or dig in a garden, or drive a car for many hours alone, or play the piano, or sew, or paint ALONE; or an idleness-and this is what I want you to do--where you sit with pencil and paper or before a typewriter quietly putting down what you happen to be thinking, that is creative idleness. With all my heart I tell you and reassure you: at such times you are being slowly filled and re-charged with warm imagination, with wonderful, living thoughts."*

The tomatoes are coming, along with shorter days and deep blue skies that will be set off by bright orange leaves. The preschool will open its glorious doors again, and the sounds of football will fill our living room as it does every fall, as will the cries of a brand new baby. And most likely I will look back dreamily on our long summer days as the best days--the days I wish I could have back again.

*From Brenda Ueland's book If You Want to Write


DCVol said...

I'm right there with you on the L.O.N.G. summer days.....but then I remember how much I love that it is light til after 8 pm and really nice night walks outside when we don't have to bundle up....we too look forward to those crisp fall days with football on the tv and can't wait to meet little mr. McBride. When we get back from our trip we will come join you at that empty pool, or you can come play at ours! Hugs to you guys~ Kelly

Anonymous said...

You are living in the moment, and for me that is what life is all about! You have found "the balance" and when baby #3 makes his grand entrance the balance will be thrown off again, but I have faith you'll find it again. Now if that is sounding a little hokey remember that people pay me good money for comments like these. :) Miss ya lots and wish I could come hang out in the pool with you all! Stacey

Robin said...

AS IF I'd click over to another blog when you have a new post! I hate that I can't pat your belly in person...consider the little man affectionately embraced! Hang in there with the heat...yesterday it was 104 here in TX. I don't complain...I just don't move around much. :)

Oh, and I love the fact that "being bored" is really an impossibility! Right? That's how I read that quote. But it was kind of over my head!!