You will find something more in woods than in books.
Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters. – St. Bernard
I previously introduced you to the maple tree outside my bedroom and explained its significance in my life in My Cats and The Maple Tree. Each fall, it’s one of the last trees to turn, and when it does, it turns the most incredibly bright, vibrant red. When the light is just right, my entire bedroom is infused with a red glow from the tree. The glory only lasts for a few days, and each year, I look forward to it.
This year, the tree turned slower than normal, but our entire fall has been a bit odd. Then, last Saturday, we got snow. This was a first. I’d never seen snow on the maple in the twenty-seven years I’ve lived in this house. It was only a dusting, but it was oddly disorienting to see the big, fat snow flakes against the red leaves. Apparently, the cold snap brought its own reward: three days after the storm, the tree reached its peak.
I always make a point to take some time to truly enjoy the tree while it’s at peak color. I hope for sunny weather during those few days, because when the sun hits the tree just right in the afternoon, the color is magnificent.
I had a busy week, but on Tuesday, despite a to do list a mile long, I dropped everything and simply sat by my window for an hour in the middle of the afternoon. I let myself soak up the brilliant light of the tree. Ruby and Allegra joined me for a little while before they got bored and wandered off to do cat things.
And afterwards, I felt absolutely amazing. Allowing myself to take an hour, in the middle of a busy day, to do nothing without feeling guilty about it, was a wonderful experience. I felt grounded and peaceful. I also felt energized and went back to work with renewed enthusiasm.
Doing nothing without feeling guilty is something all my cats have taught me over the years. And my maple tree is reinforcing the lesson. As a culture, we tend to always feel rushed, and many consider being busy a badge of honor. However, there is great value in doing nothing, in simply being. I think Winnie the Pooh had it right when he said “don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
Perhaps we all need a reminder at times to stop doing and to simply be. Our cats do a pretty good job of helping us remember. Between my cats, and my maple tree, I think I’ve got it covered.
What about you? Do you allow yourself to do nothing without feeling guilty about it?