The other afternoon, my son and I went to Walden Pond, he to investigate the underwater fish scene, me to dunk before/after an Urban Pharm call. The excursion was strategically timed, thoughtfully prepared, and thorough in the intended bases covered. Up and out and slightly off our beaten path. Outdoors. Work efficiently sandwiched between time with and for the kid. Towels, sunscreen, hats, goggles, computer, one of those folding camp chairs people use to spectate youth sporting events. The return trip would take us past a plant store where I could find replacements for those sad occupants of a smattering of backyard pots. I was ORGANIZED and had my time and afternoon by the tail.
We arrive, clouds forming and people leaving, but rain a ways off. Perfect. We make our way around the pond, scramble under a wire fence, and down a rooted dirt hill to the water’s edge. There is no room or flat surface, which would make the chair make sense. Turns out the signal is…on and off. Eventually, I acknowledge this reality, exit the call, and reorient to where I am tossing my phone and what I was trying to get done into my bag. It is beautiful here. The pond carries floating people and their summer conversations lightly. A buoyed swimmer makes her way from one end of the pond to the other with intention and calm. The water is perfection.
“Shoot,” my goggled son says as he joins me, now sitting at the edge of the water, “I should have brought a rod.” “Hmmm,” I reply, “next time, I guess.” He continues to putter about, checking out skittering fish, seeable through the clear shallow water. As I turn to get something out of my bag, I see a small stick jutting from a tree. “Looks like someone is looking out for you,” I say to my son, pointing. “Cool,” he smiles, taking the generosity of this homemade fishing stick and the additional layer of experience it afforded our hour at Walden in stride.
I love a plan, a schedule, and an intention. I also find efficiency, order, and jigsaw puzzle style fitting together of things totally satisfying. All of this structure provides a context and a container that makes the unexpected deliciously texturizing instead of sand-in-the-gears jolty. All you’ve got to do is leave a little room.