Sunday, August 30, 2020

Pastimes for the present time

The pandemic has sped up time for some of us, slowed it down for others. I've experienced both. Spring lasted forever, but the summer is passing in an eye-blink.

I'm working more hours, but I have fewer options for my downtime. I still walk and hike, though I have fewer options for where to do it. My library closed for weeks, and the new reservation and curbside pickup process is a bit slower, though I'm profoundly grateful it exists at all. In any case, I did have a great excuse to delve into my TBR pile--the books that I've accumulated but then was never in the right frame of mind to read. 

One of those books is an art book, picked up dirt-cheap secondhand. I had thought, when I got it a few years back, that I might use it for writing prompts. But it was only a couple of weeks ago that I finally opened it.

Each painting in it encourages me to slow down, to study line and form and color, to think about the story it's telling. It encourages mindfulness, this stopping to focus on what's in front of me.

I suspect that gardening, puzzles, and baking may be serving similar function for many: a tangible object or process with which to interact in the moment. Writing can take us deeper into this world, or it can take us deeper into other worlds. Yet sometimes we want to set it aside for paintbrush or rake or dough. Especially when the future looks uncertain, we concentrate on the present moment.