Friday, September 26, 2014

Smelling the Roses

Thought for the day:  Time is but a stream I go a-fishin' in.  I drink at it, but while I drink, I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is.  Its thin current slips away, but eternity remains. [Henry David Thoreau]

I didn't just want to go fishing in it; I wanted to stand in it. I wanted to feel the waters of time swirl around my feet, to be made poignantly aware once again of its dual nature of fleeting and eternal. I wanted to hear the haunting call of the seagulls, and breathe in the distinctive briny scent of the ocean.

And thanks to Smarticus and a couple very dear friends, I did!

When I did my social butterflying a couple weekends ago, I was actually doing it at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with my hubby and our pals from Tennessee.  And even though none of them care all that much (like not at all) about spending time at the beach, they graciously indulged me. They gave me the time to walk on the beach and stand in the water. And it was glorious.

As you read this, I'm off social butterflying again. No ocean involved this time, but I'm gonna be unplugged from the Internet, and plugged into my environment. Smelling the roses, while they're still in bloom. So to speak. Because I'm such an innately lazy generous person, I won't abandon y'all without a post. Nope, I'm gonna foist an old post share a post, originally written as Dashing Through Life in April of 2011. Most of you haven't seen it before, and it kinda goes along with the way I'm feeling lately. Life's simply too short to waste. We've gotta live it. Gotta go fishin' once in a while.


                                            (Hey! You go fishing your way, and I'll go mine!)

Okeydoke, here's that oldie but goodie rerun.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thought for the day:  I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.  Maya Angelou


It'd be a lot easier if life were laid out like a marked highway, wouldn't it? All we'd have to do is keep our eye on that center line and follow the road straight to our final destination. No guesswork involved. No tough decisions. Why, there'd even be signs to warn us of the bumpy patches ahead, and of the "dips" we're likely to encounter.


And just think! If we doze off and start to wander off-track, by golly, there'd be signs to tell us:

Just think how many divorces could have been avoided!


But, in truth, life would be kinda boring if it were all laid out for us, wouldn't it? I mean, where's the spirit of adventure in that? Even though I'm directionally challenged, I love exploring those little dirt roads in life.

Years ago, Smarticus and I spent several unforgettable weekends at a mountain cabin with another couple. Wonderful people. Like me, Smarticus also likes to venture off the beaten path, and thankfully, he has an uncanny sense of direction to go with it, so as long as I stick with him, I'll always find my way home again. The other couple, on the other hand, preferred the safety of the paved road, and the well-worn path. The four of us were tromping on a trail through the woods one day, when I heard the distant sound of water. Natch, I got all excited and took off through the woods. And natch, so did my husband. Our friends stayed glued to the marked trail at first, but quickly decided it was scarier to stay behind than it'd be to follow us. We encountered a multitude of large trees, downed and tangled, so we climbed over them. Ran into brambles galore, but we kept going. But as we climbed through and over the obstacles, the sound of water got louder and louder, until we finally emerged into a sun-lit clearing. It was worth every single scratch and bug bite we'd endured, and every bead of sweat we'd perspired. For there we were, beside a small, secluded waterfall.

And we would've missed that beautiful moment if we hadn't been willing to take the scenic path. The detour. It's wonderful to have a clear destination in mind, but the trip is so much more enjoyable if we learn to enjoy the scenery along the way. Children insist on becoming adults, and you'll only have one shot at enjoying their childhoods. Our parents grow old and die, and then there's no time left to chat with them on the phone, or to stop in for a visit. Our friends pass away, or move away, or simply leave our lives. Shouldn't we enjoy them while we can? I originally planned on calling my blog Never2Late.  That definitely reflects my optimistic viewpoint of life, but the unpleasant truth is ... sometimes, it IS too late.


Sorry! I've gotta dash!
Hurry, hurry, hurry. No time to stop and chat. No time to listen to the response after you ask someone how they're doing. Gotta dash, gotta dash.

I want to leave you with another thought about our mad dash through life.

The Dash is an inspirational poem that starts:

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

This poem was written in 1996 by Linda Ellis, and her words have inspired millions of people all over the world. She writes about that little line, that simple "dash" on a tombstone that represents the real story of a lifetime, that defines who we are beyond a simple beginning and end date, and touches, simply and succinctly, on what's truly important in life. Here's a beautiful rendition of  the entire poem   I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

How about you? Are you strictly goal-oriented, or do you enjoy life's surprising detours?

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other. What can I say? Gotta dash!


67 comments:

  1. Detours are not always my choice, but they tend to turn out well.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Unplanned detours can be a pain in the patootie when we're in a hurry, but they usually lead to something enjoyable... if we let 'em.

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  2. Happy for you. Sorry to see you go. Privileged to share a bit of the dash with you and better for it. You have a fine gift of humor and reason, Susan, and if you decide to return to internet I will most gladly welcome the pleasure of your renewed company. Thanks. Thanks for everything.

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    1. You can't get rid of me THAT easily! I enjoyed hanging out with our friends in Tennessee in person, but I enjoy all you blogger pals, too. (Thanks for the kind words, dude.)

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  3. I so loved your part about the ocean. Stepping out in the ocean, feeling the waves swirling around around my feet and smelling the briny air. I miss living by the ocean so much.
    Detours are wonderful, I so hope you will enjoy this one.

    cheers, parsnip


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    1. I'm glad the part about the ocean resonated with you. Those of us who love the ocean will always love it. (I hope you still get to visit it from time to time.)

      I sure did enjoy it! Thanks.

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  4. Enjoy your smelling of the roses. Literal and metaphoric. And yes, I loved your rerun post. As I do all of your posts. Humour and wisdom with a smigeon orf snark and buckets of humour.

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    1. Thanks. We sure did!

      How sweet of you! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and your kind words are like another lovely rose.

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  5. Hi Susan - some of us definitely need to take the unspoken path and see what lies at the end, to follow the sounds of the whispering waters, or look around as the trees and plants bend in the wind, or smell the breeze as it brings fresh scents with it ...

    Wonderful - enjoy your time - living in the dash, in the today and moment .. of now - cheers Hilary

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    1. Absolutely! And it seems to me you've been following quite a few of those uncharted paths lately. Makes each day an adventure,doesn't it?

      Yes, let us all enjoy our time living the dash. Cheers!

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  6. Much to my wife's dismay, I enjoy the detours. As far as the ocean is concerned I lived close to Myrtle Beach so the surf and sand are encoded in my DNA.

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    1. I think detours keep life interesting.

      I never had the good fortune to live close to the ocean, but the surf and sand are encoded in my DNA, too. (GREAT way to put it!)

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  7. The very best things can happen when you're lost. I was studying my map in Hue (Vietnam) when a man came to help me - it was the Chinese New Year, and the streets almost deserted, and he took me back to spend the day with his family. I have no idea what I ate, or what was going on, only that they made me hugely welcome.

    That would never have happened if I'd stayed on the predictable path.

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    1. Not LOST... just not where you expected to be. I'd say you've been exemplifying the concept of adventure and straying from the path.

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  8. I enjoy the detours, few they may be, but they make the rest of the time more interesting via the memories. I love the roses in your header.
    And I love standing with my feet in the ocean too. I'll wade along as far as I can, feeling the sand and waves, wondering where the water has been and where it is going.

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    1. I agree. Detours make for some of our very best memories.

      The ocean has the ability to tap something primal and philosophical inside of us,doesn't it?

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  9. Susan, I couldn't agree with you more... life is for living and enjoying the journey along the way... life is bumpy as heck and sometimes the challenges given to us or that we encounter along the way seems to make us stall...

    I love how you are willing to venture out off the path to find the beauty that surrounds us... I know I sometimes move through the day on auto pilot and miss what is going on around me... but when I take the time to see it, I am grateful as it never disappoints...

    Have fun being unplugged and just enjoying being.. I have done that a couple of times and I have loved each time.. See you when you get back :)

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    1. Absolutely! I'm glad you agree.

      We enjoyed five glorious days in Tennessee with our friends, but it's good to be back home again. (Our cats agree...)

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  10. I've found many amazing things getting off a main road or trail. These experiences have been both beautiful and unforgettable.

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  11. Your dipping your feet in the water describes you well. Everything goes by so quickly and regrets on what we "didn't" do when the opportunities arose, is life's saddest tale. Being safe and cautious has it's place, but a simple "yes" can lead to wonderful adventures that brighten our days.

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    1. Absolutely. You expressed that sooooo well.

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  12. I used to so love to walk along the beach and paddle. Haven't done that for years. Not sure I could now as unsteady on my feet.
    I think my life has often been ruled by chaos (isn't that a theory?) and there have been detours but eventually I ended up in the right place so mustn't complain.
    Look forward to your return and I hope you enjoy yourself.

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    1. I must admit, it isn't nearly as easy to walk in the sand as it used to be, so I know what you mean.

      Yep, chaos is a theory, but I still like to think there's some rhyme and reason ruling my life. Doesn't mean there is, but that's what I like to think...

      Thanks. We had a terrific time.

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  13. The ocean is a great way to recharge, and one of my favorites, too. I wish I lived on a beach (but I'd be the house blown away by a hurricane, to be sure). We love walking around at low tide and checking out the wildlife.

    And the ocean breezes? Ahhhhh.....

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    1. Ah, a fellow ocean addict. (I think there's a lot of us around.) The reality of how much damage hurricanes can do is enough to keep me from living within spitting distance of the ocean. As much as I love it, I also respect its power.

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  14. Nothing better than walking on the beach and letting the water rush over your feet. I could hear the seagulls and smell the ocean just reading your post. Enjoy your butterflying!

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    1. You betcha! If I could walk on the beach every day, I would. Year round!

      I thoroughly enjoyed my butterflying, but I've flitted back home again. For now.

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  15. Have to smell the roses every once in a while indeed. I like your way of fishing better, hate fishing altogether though, damn flies are too annoying.

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    1. Absolutely. By the time you get to my age, I think it's a good idea to appreciate the scent of roses every day.

      Well, I used to love fishing, but it's been a very long time. Not sure it would hold the same attraction for me any more.

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  16. SUSKI ~
    I enjoyed this blog bit. Unfortunately, I was too pressed for time to read the whole thing, but I skimmed about half of it and liked what I saw.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. STEPHEN McC ~

      Thanks. Glad ya liked what ya skimmed.

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  17. Hope you're having an awesome unplugged time. See you when you return :)

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    1. I had a super time... but I'm plugged back in for now. (For now!)

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  18. Stopping to smell the roses has always been a challenge... but never more than in this techie age. We all need to unplug sometimes (whether we realize it or not).

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    1. That's one of the good things about getting older. We become more aware of the passage of time, and of our own finite existence. At least for me, that translates into more flower sniffing and an overall slower pace. (Okay, so that last part may not entirely be by choice... HA!)

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  19. Feeling the sea on my feet is one of those life's pleasures I miss and will always miss. London is landlocked so I have to go somewhere far for a slice of sea life.

    I can be goal-orientated sometimes, but I also like to see what life throws at me occasionally.

    Excellent post.

    Greetings from London.

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    1. I understand full well how the sea still calls to you. Once we fall in love with the sea, that love will last a lifetime, no matter how far away we may live from it.

      Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Cheers back atcha!

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  20. What you said about detours reminded me of the quote "Not all who wander are lost."

    Happy wandering!

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    1. Ohhh, great quote! (Although, left to my own devices, if I'm allowed to wander on my own, there's a darned good chance I WILL get lost!)

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  21. Love this! Enjoy your R&R time from the internet!

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    1. Thanks! We did! Now we need another R&R to recover...

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  22. Dear Susan,
    enjoy the smell of your roses - I can feel with you: sometimes one needs to unplug; and yes: the Internet isn't 'real life' (but quite nice!) - so: I do hope you come back after a delicious, refreshing break. Britta XXX

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    1. Dear Britta.

      It was more of a pause... a wonderful long weekend with friends. A pause that both refreshed and exhausted. LOTS of laughter and late nights. Very late nights. (And we STILL didn't run out of things to talk about.)

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  23. I know that I should remain on the beaten track, but detours bring about newness and things that I would most likely miss.

    Will miss your presence around the blogoshere. Don't stay away too long.

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    1. Hey! No need to miss me... I'm already BACK! ("How can I miss you if you never go away...?") It was just a lovely long weekend with friends.

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  24. I enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing!

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  25. It is a lovely write-up, and worth sharing because it's worth remembering, and better yet, doing. I always enjoyed my kids, but I wish I'd have enjoyed the first two being little as much as I did the last two. I was so busy in the early years just trying to live and make ends meet...that I skipped some of the most important things that I totally took for granted. Now that those two boys have grown into wonderful young men, I realize how absolutely fleeting that fun time (when they were little guys) really was... Have fun dashing around! :)

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    1. When we're young, we seem to think we have "forever," and don't realize how quickly our children will grow up and set out on their own. Friends of our adopted a little boy later in life... post retirement, as a matter of fact, and they've been savoring the experience much more than they could when they were younger and caught up in the corporate world.

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  26. I love a good detour, and it's true. Life would be boring if it were all laid out for us.

    I mean not to turn this into any type of religious discussion, but I have to mention this; I once knew a girl in high school who would pray to ask guidance for everything. I mean EVERYTHING. I'm not kidding you, I once saw her in the cafeteria, praying to ask God what sandwich she was destined to eat because she couldn't figure it out. And all I could think was lady, if God wanted to dictate every last detail of your life, down to the sandwich you're "supposed" to eat, he'd have made you a toaster, not a human being.

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    1. Interesting,verging on weird. I hope that gal you knew has learned to have more of a mind of her own by now.

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  27. This is the perfect time of year to take a hike from the Internet. This poem really reflects your spirit of adventure. Enjoy your break, and I miss you already!

    Julie

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    1. ANY time of year is the perfect time to take a break. That's the joy of retirement!

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  28. I'm all about the detours. It's why I love to walk and hate to drive. Roads are already mapped. Even when I write, I take the scenic path with no clear destination in mind. I write to explore the scenery along the way.

    Enjoy your time away!
    VR Barkowski

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    1. With your adventurous outlook, I'm not surprised you embrace the detours.

      We did! We did!

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  29. Smell those roses and enjoy the freedom! I felt especially guilty, but I was away for a couple weeks while 20 family members came into town. Whew! Now that's a rush. SO thankful for the quiet now that they're gone.

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    1. I did!

      Whew! Twenty family members visiting at the same time? OY! I think you should take another little break NOW!

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  30. The first part of this post made me homesick for the ocean. I was born on the coast but in the landlocked mid-west now. The dash poem I have read before but it really spoke to me today as I'm just getting back to blogging after losing my dad. What I wouldn't give to be able to call him on the phone.

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    1. Sorry. I didn't mean to push your sad buttons. I'm so sorry about your dad, but you made the most of your time with him these past couple months. I know that meant the world to both of you.

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  31. You just have so much fun with friends, etc and you bring the detours to life with words and pics. Bully for you and have fun smelling the roses. I tend to ramble a bit myself and drag Ray along for the ride. Enjoy!

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    1. Ramble? I'd say you do more than ramble... ITALY! Woo HOO!

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  32. Girl, you're a skinny Minnie.

    That's not the only thing that struck me about this post, of course, but I just wanted to say that! :D

    I do love your thoughts on the duality of time. That was a lovely opening for the rest of your words.

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    1. HA! No... no, I'm not. That picture in the boat was taken more than fifty years ago.

      Thanks. I'm glad you liked it.

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