Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky,
is by no means a waste of time.—J. Lubbock
My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.—Anais Nin
Yes, this isn’t a single a quote, but two different ones. Still, seeing as how the “Quote of the Week” has been AWOL for a bit, I figured I could use a bit more oomph in this post, and that no one would mind. (If you do mind, well, just read one quote this week and one next week.)
I’m not sure what the weather is like where you are, but here, just now, it’s stunning. The sky is a soft shell blue arc, perfectly cloudless. A soft breeze ruffles the bud-spiked branches of the trees. The temperature requires warm-weather clothes even for me, a confirmed cold-blooded lizard clinging stubbornly to her heater-rock whenever possible. On this gorgeous day, and with more such to come in the forecast, I had to go buy flowers.
Remember that I’m a gardener at heart; I’m really, really happy when there’s dirt ingrained in my skin and lodged under my nails. Turning compost is my dream. (Early in our marriage, hubby asked what I wanted for my autumn birthday. No diamonds or jewels here–I wanted a load of horse manure to keep the compost pile steaming, hot and active all winter long. He shook his head in wonder, but I got my load of sh*t.) And for the entire last year, I’ve had no planters full of herbs and flowers. Today, I rectified that.
Was this a waste of my writing time, then? Well, some may think so, but not me. For like Anais Nin so aptly said, ideas come “in the midst of living.” As I pondered colors and scents, placement, heights and names of herb varieties, my subconscious was grabbing ideas left and right and tucking them away for later use: the giddy joy of all the early gardeners, buying plants in April even though we know it’s too early; my firm conviction that this year the last hard frost is over and the plants will survive a month ‘too soon’ outdoors; the feel (and sound!) of the root balls crumbling or shredding, breaking apart in my hands; the smells of crushed mint, and rosemary, and chives. It’ll come out in some story, some time.
Over the years I’ve spent hours watching animals do everyday things. Right now, I’m writing a YA piece that includes a dragon, and I’m using some of the things I’ve observed cats doing in my dragon’s actions. Did I intend that when I watched cats over the years? Of course not. I was just relaxing, doing something I enjoyed. And as it turns out, it wasn’t a waste of time at all.