Monday, August 10, 1998

Long Term Purpose

I'm not the type of guy who usually likes to water his lawn (with his sprinkler that is). Somehow I view that as Mother Nature's job and I'm not paying a penny more than I have to on my water bill. Still last Saturday as I crunched my way across my backyard lawn and noticed it was a severe shade of brush fire brown, I decided it was time for me to do a little outdoor sprinkling for the first time this summer.

I ran my sprinkler all morning and afternoon. As it so often goes, that night we had showers and it pretty much has rained off and on all week. On the one hand the rain is a good thing taking care of a problem much better than I ever could. But I took it as some cruel irony and being punished for not paying enough attention. It's been so wet now I have to worry about the mushrooms springing up around the yard. There are probably several lessons to be learned here. One of which is to know when to show a little patience and let things come to you. Another is to do a little research (in this case listening to the weather forecast) to find out if there is anything you should know before you take action. One other lesson is it really doesn't take much to return things back to normal. After a week of rain my lawn is its usual shade of healthy weed green.

Later on in the week I was on my way down to St. Cloud for a day's training. The night before I had a nightmare, the kind where you wake up shaken and never quite get to sleep again. Something about silence. So as I prepared for the morning I was groggy and somehow more alert than usual. It was gray and sprinkling outside and it was one of those mornings where the temptation, the thought of staying on the road and driving right by my destination to keep on going crossed my mind. I was judging my estimated time of arrival in St. Cloud by the ninety minute tape of all my current favorite songs I had made the day before. It seemed like I had been driving forever when I reached the halfway point and I had to flip the tape over.

I don't know what was more depressing, the drab blue billboard that read it was a monument to the 100,000 babies killed every year by abortions or the big glitzy Grand Casino sign right after it advertising the upcoming Billy Ray Cyrus show. Ever get the feeling that there is a whole wide world going on out there that you really don't know anything about? You can get so used to your normal drive to work, the normal events of your routine that you never stop and think there are a trillion other lives going on at the same time. Still it was comforting for some unknown reason when I neared St. Cloud and passed a sign indicating I was near by Silver Creek/Hasty. Yes indeed, one knows one has hit the big time when one drives by Hasty.

My drive home was a bit more hectic than the leisurely drive down. I had a softball game that I was needed at in a mere ninety minutes. I did something a little beyond cruising to make it on time. To my surprise I played a pretty damn good game and we won, clinching first place. And for anyone who thinks softball is merely an excuse to drink beer, once again this evening beautifully demonstrated the metaphorical qualities of the sport. You can hit a ball as hard as you can and if it is right at someone you have not succeeded. You can dink one off the handle of your bat and it might just be in the right spot to create all sorts of havoc. In softball it isn't always a matter of being good. Often it's just as important to be lucky.

I returned to the office feeling more energized, all trained and raring to go to show off all my new gained knowledge. Early in the morning there wasn't a lot of activity going on as few of us were in the office. I was deep in thought and walking toward the back room when I dropped my pen. An angel appeared and handed it back to me. It was one of those dreamy symbolic moments of clarity and grace answering some clumsiness and routine awkwardness. I'm not even sure it really ever happened but it sure feels like it did. Congratulations roller bladers!

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