A dozen or more years ago, I suspended a green, woven hammock between two trees in our backyard in Washington state. It was the fourth year in a row I'd hung up that hammock.
It was also the last year I strung it up.
To a fault, I worked too hard all of my life. My father used to say about me, in front of me, "She worked like a man all of her life."
I stopped hanging up hammocks because I simply never once laid down in one. I dreamed of doing so and knew the dreamy state awaiting me if I'd only succumb, but somehow, built into me, was a satisfaction in hard work, a job well done, the instant gratification and reward of looking upon something completed.
We all know ourselves better than anyone else possibly can. I knew that I would never start a job but what I'd finish it. I'd never ask someone else to do something I could do myself (chalk that one up to Yankee upbringing). I'm sure it took years off of my life, but it also added a wealth of experience and memories. So, I guess you could say it's a wash.
I wouldn't stop for a swing in a hammock and I wouldn't take the time to put conditioner in my hair during a shower. Now, how pathetic is that?
However, consider the way I am today. A forced state and one at times that I truly appreciate.
Some of the things I now notice more than ever before are birds. Oh, I always noticed a covey of quail as it trooped across my path, the children with "question marks on their heads" gossiping amongst themselves and spooking my horse. I took note of the buzzards over a far ridge and felt the urge to ride over and check out why they were circling. I listened with awe to the night owls in the cottonwoods outside my window.
[side note: here's something I learned recently. You country folks probably recognize the fur balls left behind by owls, right? Well, my neighbor tells me that there is a lab near here which will purchase all the furballs you will bring them. Hmmm. You must wonder why, as I also did. Lee told me that they buy them because inside will be intact skeletons of mice and other little animals that the owl critters feed on and swallow whole, and these skeletons are used in classrooms. Now THAT'S not something you expected to learn today!]
I am not walking across the road for little hikes anymore. I will again someday, but my surgeon told me that's probably not what I need to heal. So, if I can't go to Nature, Nature comes to me!
Little chickadees are here now. They were not at our feeder this winter, but they are back now, along with goldfinches and hummers and a couple of varieties of small birds for which I do not have a name. And the occasional Stellar Jay, looking monstrous next to the wee wingers that usually inhabit the oaks outside our living room window.
I now notice the courting dances of the smaller birds as they loop and swirl quickly chasing each other and playing hard to get. I see them next inspect my birdhouses, though I'm not sure any have taken up residence yet. Their forms flit outside my peripheral vision and cause me to turn my head painfully to catch a glimpse of something that has somehow become important to me.
A treasure found.