Today I Will Rake Leaves


Today I will rake leaves

In spite of the wind

And rain

In spite of the leaves that still remain on the trees

Which will soon fall

These leaves which will watch my work

Knowing that if I simply waited

That when the trees were bare

And the winds continued to blow

That I would not need to

With rake in hand

Occupy my time with raking leaves

Today I will rake leaves because I need to be reminded

My ego has consumed my thoughts

And I am deceiving myself

For whatever that might mean

Reminded that my wants are only mine

Chaos comes and goes like the tide

Yet never leaves

And often beauty and order is temporary

Always temporary

All things are temporary

Today I rake leaves so I can be at peace with the struggle

And realize that it is not a struggle

It is a single movement

With resistance as much a part of the whole as fluidity

The leaves will blow away

Or get bagged

The lawn will appear as green

And clean

I will feel as if the task is done

But it is not

Some may tell me this effort is wasted

I must be at peace with that

As I must capitulate to the rain which also suggests I make better use of my time

Nothing I say or do will change these facts

The leaves will remain until removed

The leaves will fall until the trees are empty

The rain will fall

The wind will blow

And I will rake leaves


A Sunday Afternoon in the Moment

My trail map

When I was in college studying philosophy and religion one element of learning was prevalent: be in the moment. It was not necessarily a critical component to any thought or thinker, rather it was a means by which the subject matter was understood. Historical understanding of ideas aside, experiencing the idea for yourself, in your own time leads to a greater understanding of the thing.

For example, Existentialists Soren Kierkegaard and Frederich Nietzsche both penned influential and timeless evaluations of who we are and how we become. Each approached a reaction to some historical event. For the former it was Hegelian thought, the latter Christianity. Yet their reaction to these subjects required an awareness of the now and what the present impact was. From the Buddhist blog “Wildmind“:

How often is a thing considered based on what it might be or what it might influence? In turn how often is the present influenced by that perception? But there are also past burdens. Things which we assume as future concerns and as such we respond without consideration as to their relevance.

Being in the moment means being mindfully aware of what is going on right here and now, in our experience, and this includes any thinking we do about the past or future. Much of the time our experience does not have this quality of awareness or mindfulness. A lot of the time we are like robots, automatically living out habitual patterns of self-pity, anger, wish-fulfillment, fear, etc. These habitual tendencies take us over and run our lives for us – without our being able to stand back and decide whether this is what we actually want to be doing. It can be a real shock when we start to realize just how habitual and automatic our lives are, and when we realize how much runaway thinking leads to states of suffering.

My friend Chris Gandy is a welcomed mentor in my endeavors, reminding me not to get caught up in the fallacies of past and future considerations. When posting stories on Facebook he will sometimes direct my attention to the purpose of the sharing and ask that I simply be in the moment, then move on to the next experience. Not to have “runaway” thoughts. It is not unlike Jesus’ parable of sowing seeds. Being distracted from the path is so easy when we become consumed by the other person.

Obviously the concept is far more complicated than the few words above but they serve as a frame to the greater discussion. It was with this in mind that I mounted my 2005 Trek, loaded up the Osprey Raptor and headed to UNF’s nature trail. There was roughly four hours of daylight left on this Sunday the first of April. For me it served as the demarcation point of winter to spring. Recently I had registered for the Jax Tri series and a 16 week training schedule was peering at me from Monday. The mind needed to purged and combining that cleansing with a slow 13 mile training ride happened as needed fact.

Rather than write of the time I will allow still moments obtained with my Blackberry 9000 to steal the credit.

A Sunday Afternoon in the Moment – Images