Are we having the time of our lives?
Are we coming across clear?
Are we part of the plan here?
It’s about the last day of school for most kids around here, give or take some final exams (which are nothing compared to the AP’s of a few weeks ago!) My Madeleine is now officially a senior in high school. We head to Montreal next week to finish up a slew of college visits with her that have given us an idea of what she might be interested in pursuing for university studies. All of this, combined with my travel plans for the summer are providing an orbital feel to life in general. It is not lost on my that time is flying. It isn’t lost on me that these times are precious either. Part of me is so ready to get to teaching in Taos, and the other part of me pines to capture the beauty we have outside right now in the form of the late spring garden. So I do capture it, as best I can.
A dear friend of mine has been down the rabbit hole of various meditation retreats of late and I am fascinated by her journey. We have talked at length about what makes up a meditation practice, and what we hope to get out of meditating. And I think it’s just the sense of being fully present in our lives. Making sure that we aren’t so busy looking forward to the future, or pondering the past, that we forget to really be here now. Occasionally I will let myself see the seemingly flawless practices of my more centered acquaintances and begin to compare my own messy monkey mind to them and see it in an unkind light. But in chatting with my friend on her journey, she was quick to remind me that not all practices look the same. That what we do in our sketchbooks is a form of meditation. She’s so right. (and, that said, so is running a few miles every day!)
In this book, on most days, I ponder the beautiful, cast out mental lists that might be driving me crazy, get them down on paper and off of my mind. I note what’s important. Noteworthy. Quotable. But mostly I just draw. And for a little bit each day, that act of drawing removes me from the pool of time and I am outside of it. It’s just me and that peony, which will never again be the peony it was this afternoon. I note that my 17 year old kid will be a day older tomorrow. We will put our visit to McGill in Montreal in the sketchbook. Maybe she will even grace the pages of my book with a drawing of her own like she did when she was little. We will mark a small moment in time. Bottle it in a sense.
Somehow, we are part of the plan here. I’m not sure exactly what that plan is, or what part I play in it. But marking the here and the now, day to day, is one way to pin down the impermanent. At least for the time being.