This week has been all about spawning items for my to-do list rather than, say, actually doing them — a time of conception rather than of delivery. The peculiar rhythms of the ‘holiday season’ having ended, the momentum of the routine came roaring back.
By Tuesday morning, I had mostly stopped completing tasks (except for the most insistent among them) and filled my distracted days by simply recording, one by one, many new responsibilities to handle later. It was a week of expanding lists and a surplus of Inbox debits. Is this accumulation to be considered as progress?
I was taken, then, by the serenity evident in “A Lizard in Spanish Valley,” by Wendy Videlock, one of five pieces she contributed to the January issue of Poetry. The poet found calm while disengaging from business and busyness. She stopped and sat and quietly watched. Though a silent lizard lives in a world far from the to-do (or have-done) items of human beings —
it does not share my love affairs
with flannel sheets,
bearded men, interlocking
silver rings, the moon,
the sea, or ink.
— its still and scaly presence nonetheless restores and uplifts. I have concerns this reptile cannot know; yet, in some way, we are one. This new insight, however hopeful, is not the answer to all life’s tasks and troubles: “This is not a fable, / not is it bliss.” There are no easy answers, but I will return to my living, now humbled with renewed confidence.
It is sufficient to have been still.