Anyone who grew up in the country knows the wisdom of letting a field lay fallow. But if you didn’t grow up in the country you might think a fallow field has nothing much happening. The plot just sits. Wasted real estate. Like a quiet person who may not say much, it doesn’t mean nothing is going on under the surface. A field in fallow still receives rain and sun, may even be planted with a crop that is never harvested, but gets plowed under to help replenish the soil with nutrients. It is a time of restoration.
Humans have our fallow periods. If we are wise enough to not flog our impatient selves over the seeming lack of accomplishment, we can reap enormous benefits from a period of allowing our inner selves to replenish. Our life force comes bubbling to the surface again, renewed. In my experience this can happen over a period of weeks, months or even years. Thoughts and feelings weave in and out of our consciousness as an idea or skill develops into something more fully formed and ready to express itself. But it cannot be hurried. And in my case, it would seem, it cannot be directed. It takes as long as a piece of string, and it goes where I have not been before.
The curious thing is the ingredients that contribute to the end result. It is often very mysterious. It seems to have nothing to do with the final outcome, but contributes to the process the way subtle ingredients contribute to a delicious stew. Have you noticed the difference in flavour of a slow cooked stew that has bubbled on the stove all day long, versus one cooked by faster means?
A slow renewal would describe much of my previous year. Toward the end, only a few weeks ago while we were traveling in the Southwest of the United States, I began to realise the time was not so much a fallow period as a gestation. What has been birthed is a stronger, more energetic self with fresh thoughts, inspiration and appreciation. It feels like the look of drought ridden land, a week or so after a good rain. And the ‘entrapped nerve’ in my foot is nearly healed. It was taking the long, slower road, of exercise, stretching, rest and shockwave treatments that did the job. I opted to try this less invasive route, rather than the steroid injections. There were moments I doubted I would feel this good again, but I tried not to let this override my thoughts of recovery. An excellent and positive podiatrist and tenacity on my part have won the day. Through the months I finally gave myself over to the process and embraced quieter pursuits with a mind open to various possible outcomes.
You may think I had forgotten you. And writing. Some will have moved on and forgotten this little blog altogether. Understandable. From my end it is often counterproductive to try and confine these changes into some tidy little paragraphs of significance, when they are still busy forming themselves. Of course this process is ongoing, but once in a while it is intensive, as the last 10 months or so have been for me. It seemed better to wait for a time when things felt more fully formed to try and describe what had gone on.
There is no time like one’s birthday to reflect. So, last week on the first day of my 67th year (or is it the last day of my 66th year?) it was the light, the textures and the small everyday things that shone. I missed walking more than I had missed anything in a long time. Just walking. Taking the time to rehabilitate my mobility has not only taught me new things, it has reminded me to appreciate the Now, and the wee, small things.
As Mies van der Rohe said, God is in the detail. A light chaser knows this.