Tuesday, May 03, 2011


I am hoping to learn how to work and rest at the same time, a phenomenon I very often see in the natural world. Trees, for instance, seem to be actively working when they sway in strong winds, tossing their limbs in a spirited manner, but they also seem entirely stress-free. Perhaps part of their secret is that they don’t resist the winds. They simply lean back and let the winds actually do the work, allowing the trees to sway tirelessly for hours. I see a similar situation in the autumn, when leaves don’t seem to be laboring as they offhandedly float to the ground, and yet in a matter of a few days they can completely cover whole square miles of land with their colors.  This is an astonishing achievement, one that would take we humans a supreme effort, and yet the loose and untroubled leaves do it in an almost soothing way. Of course, someone might say a snowfall is the most restful of nature’s activities, with whole armies of snowflakes working in utter peacefulness across the landscape. Within a few hours, a nation of snowflakes can cover an entire city with a soft but disabling sheet of white, and yet they do it in the quietest possible way. A snowstorm has a way of combining exertion and tranquility, something I greatly admire. Perhaps my goal in life should be to live like snowflakes live, with both zeal and serenity.

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