Doin’ Nothin’By Karen Bagnard
Is it okay… doin’ nothin’? I’m doin’ nothin’ and still, at age 77, wondering if it’s okay. How can that be? Are we so trained to be productive at every moment that we have a hard time just being still… just being?
If it’s a holiday weekend it surely must be okay. It’s not the actual holiday but it’s just a day away. It’s a weekend. Isn’t it okay to do nothin’ on a weekend?
I sat on my front porch with my mid-morning cup of coffee and enjoyed the cool shade, the sounds of the birds in the trees, the lush green of my garden, the opening irises and the blossoms on the small Palo Verde tree that the county planted in my front yard. My cat, Madge, came out the front door to join me. She’s afraid of the street and cars but, up on the porch with me, she feels safe and purrs when I scratch her chin.
Later, after working on a painting, I sat in my patio swing and enjoyed the rocking motion of the swing and the sounds in the park nearby and a few sounds from neighbors’ yards. The trees rustled in the breeze and I listened to the music floating out my windows and slider. Navajo flutes, Gregorian chants, Tibetan singing bowls blending with the birds’ calls.
The watering of the trees and shrubs in the backyard brought me to the park bench at the far back of the property. Again, I sat and did nothin’. I looked at my house from a different perspective and it made me feel happy. Madge stepped carefully through the sparse, unwatered lawn to reach me. It must seem like a long way from home to her. She only goes back now when I’m out there. She’s old and stays inside more and stays closer to me when we are outside. I adore my little black companion with her grey face!
When I’m doin’ nothin’ I’m often dreaming and wondering, too. I wonder how I look to that crow high up in the pine tree. Does he wonder what kind of a bird I am? Does he see Madge as a tasty morsel?
I dream about parties and get-togethers I want to have. I look at my empty patio and remember the many times it has been full of chattering friends and family and kids running around. I reminisce about the Halloween parties my kids had here or the birthday parties. I chuckle at myself remembering the wedding rehearsal dinner I hosted for Anna and Francis. I was a nervous wreck but it all turned out so well… thanks to Grampa Joe taking charge of grilling the chicken! I realize now that the wine I chose was all wrong but I also know that it’s the people that “make” the party, not the wine or the decorations or anything else. If you haven’t learned that by age 77, you are way behind!
Doin’ nothin’ gives me the chance to explore my imagination for new ways to create art. I envision bold lines, bright colors, interesting textures and maybe a few sparkles. I envision my patio fence covered with interesting paintings. I imagine myself free of the fear of not being able to be an artist anymore. I hear that inner voice telling me, “just do it!”
I’m back in the swing again, doin’ nothin’ except savoring the memory of the friends I had dinner with last night… such good friends. They feel like family to me… maybe even better than family. I’m aware of the sadness in the world but I am also aware of the goodness in the world. Right now, while I’m doin’ nothin’, I’m also counting my blessings.
Yes, I’ve decided that doin’ nothin’ is a very good thing. This is when we actually pay attention to all the riches in our lives and all the joys and all the choices we can make to bring more of the good stuff into our lives. Doin’ nothin’ is great to do with music or a cup of coffee or tea or with your cat. Doin’ nothin’ allows you to dream, savor, enjoy and count blessings.