Attending weddings and 80th birthday celebrations, stomping around Calgary at Stampede time, chilling at lakes and beaches, and puttering in backyards…how are you spending your summer? For many of us, summer is time with family, time with friends, time with aging dogs and exuberant puppies, time with blossoms, and time to linger.
Linger is a word that was used recently by Mia Kalef in a reading from her book The Secret Life of Babies. I was taken by the word and have been thinking about it ever since.
LINGER: stay in a place longer than necessary, typically because of a reluctance to leave.
“she lingered in the yard, enjoying the warm sunshine”
spend a long time over (something).
“she lingered over her meal”
be slow to disappear or die.
“the tradition seems to linger on”
When was the last time you lingered? Whether you lingered with a pet or a relationship, with a plant, with a baby, or with yourself, what was the experience for you?
This year I have the good fortune to linger in my parent’s home, long after the multitudes have returned to their own homes in distant provinces and continents. This year I get to read, write, research, listen, and reflect along with my retired parents and my sister’s aged dog. I am loitering, dawdling, dallying, and taking time. The pace is slow and the only agenda is to write and to journal. Bliss. Or as my Gramma Beryl used to say on looking out into my parent’s backyard, “This is heaven on earth.”
Staying Longer Than Necessary: Reluctance to Leave
What happens when you slow down? What happens for you when a baby cries to be held, a child asks you to color, a pet asks for a walk, or asks to be picked up and held of when someone comes for a visit? Do you have time to linger? Do you live expansively and stay longer than necessary? Are you reluctant to leave? Or does time shrink and become a list of things to do…is it time that shrinks or do we ourselves shrink…become smaller than who we are meant to be as humans on this journey together?
A Room With a View
Seems I need these breaks. Time to be slow. Morning is toast and coffee in the three-season room, my sister’s dog at my feet. Her eyes, bright and intelligent defy the reality of legs stiff and wooden. Life is simple…a thump of tail, short walks, a scratch behind the ears, Grampa’s ‘special recipe’ food, someone to greet her in the morning on waking, green grass, and folks who love her, wooden legs and all. There will come a time when she is gone from us in her current physical form.
We have had so many pets over the years and every one of them knew how to linger in love, in devotion. Even the cats…always on their own terms, of course…but they all loved sitting on the ‘chosen’ person’s lap.
Pets and plants, experts in the present moment, teach us when we have time to linger — and when we listen to their wisdom. We are all here for a time and then gone. Where do we put our energy, our time, our lingering moments?
The Presence Process
Currently I am reading Michael Brown’s book The Presence Process, and in the next few days, I embark on an experience of being present in the moment. Brown promises that this will be challenging. I believe him! Especially when I continue the work after I leave my current oasis and head back to ‘usual’ life.
I wonder if I will be able to ‘linger’ in the process of being in the moment when time seems to take on another dimension when the to-do list hits in my usual life. Interesting to see what will unfold when time and to-do list meet.
“In the world of time, it’s challenging to be grateful because nothing unfolds the way we think it should. The past holds regrets and the future the promise of improvement, while the present requires constant adjustment. We therefore spend our waking moments reflecting on what didn’t work in the past and planning those adjustments we believe are necessary to attain the peace and fulfillment we seek. Because these adjustments are oriented to a ‘better tomorrow’, we’ve forgotten how to have a meaningful today.”
~ Michael Brown
And the Rose?
Well…part of the lingering today. My mom was out in the backyard and brought in a sweet bouquet of daisy-like flowers and fragrant roses. Turns out my dad rescued the rose bush and in his thoughtful, respectful way of keeping all things alive, transplanted it to their back yard. Life is simple. Give any living thing time and love and it will grow…now…in the moment. We get to linger in the fragrance and beauty of the rose because my dad gave the rose time. Time to plant roots and time to blossom.
“Where you place your time, is where you place your life and where you put your life, is where you place your love.” ~ Clayton Barbeau
Yours in health and healing,