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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Waiting


It rained last night!
Normaphotos from this morning have taught me two things: sometimes even drought-dwellers must be patient for rain; although the clouds evaporated in morning light, 

it is time to think about bucking firewood again --which makes two things I know and that is a great mental burden right now. Yet, it is time to post, nothing strictly scheduled --I am retired-- but a feeling left by recent enigmatic disturbances to my innards, to which an old essay called out and imposed itself upon the present. Considering the tenor of my previous post, I thought it apposite to trot out this entry from 2011:


There is an ancient therapeutic art that predates Yoga, Tai Chi and certainly the medical philosophy of Galen. Its origin is shrouded in prehistory but is rediscovered by every generation. It may not even be a human invention because animals and insects practice it as a general thing. Even plants organize seasonal frenzies of it. It is called waiting.

Consider the specimen pictured above. In the background we can barely make out an orange extension cord where he has been running a saw. There is evidence also that he has been splitting logs with sledge and wedge. There is a battered yellow wheelbarrow with nothing in it. This means he's in the middle of a chore. Why is he sitting down? He is waiting.

Notice the traditional posture --gloves in hand, sitting forward, marginally alert expression. Notice also the official, all-weather waiting machine he sits on, and over which he demonstrates such mastery. Obviously a skilled practitioner. He is waiting until he feels like going back to work. That could take a while, so let us examine the history of this discipline.

When we don't feel well, we get medicine. Medical science, as we know it, has advanced to quite a complicated thing, commensurate with the increasing complexity of disease. But there was a time when the only communicable distemper was fleas. The treatment was waiting, waiting until they went away or until one got used to them. And there was, we can be historically certain, even a time before that.

It was during that remote golden age that waiting-therapy was practiced and perfected for its own sake. One withdrew from the challenges of primordial life by sitting down and waiting until one's spouse came out taking snapshots and asking where the firewood is. Careful attention to this essay provides a reply of unimpeachable authority: "wait a while".

The therapy discussed here has existed longer and adapted itself more universally to modern medicine than any other. You will not find clinical space devoted to later methods of mental and physical therapy in every medical establishment, but by golly you'll always find a waiting room.

26 comments:

  1. I hope that the rain comes back to visit you again. Soon.
    Waiting? Something I only do well on my own terms. A book helps. Mostly.
    Or bird song.

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    1. Books and bird song --excellent prescription. I'm pleased to report an abundance of both here.

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  2. I am skilled at waiting. Even before I retired I had to wait to begin work then wait for the work day to be over. I waited as my daughter rehearsed in dance class. I waited while my sons had baseball practice. I waited until my husband came home from the bar so I could serve supper. I waited for my friend to get ready so we could have a much needed evening out. I waited for payday so I could pay my bills. My goodness this sounds bitter! I really only wished to relate that I am good at waiting and most of it was done with love.

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    1. Not at all bitter. Love is certainly worth waiting with, as it is waiting for.

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  3. Is it possible that my anti-rain dances here in TN are inspiring moisture to flee to your drought-stricken neck of the woods? I certainly hope so.

    It seems like the better part of our lives are spent waiting. Waiting to grow up....waiting to graduate.....waiting to find love.....waiting to find happiness,,,,,,waiting for pots of gold at the end of rainbows........waiting to feel better......waiting for an end to the anguish.... (now I'm starting to depress myself)

    Waiting for the end of tedious comments on blogs......

    I often wish my comments were as profound as your posts.

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    1. Thanks, Jon. Anti-rain dances sound like a good test of possibility. And it did rain in California. I'll refrain from doing anti-coyote dances lest it send more to Tennessee.

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  4. The firewood can always wait, Geo. Heck it does not get that cold (compared to Buffalo, NY) where you live. Just wrap yourself up in a few extra blankets and keep sitting. Take care of yourself and leave the hard work for others. That is what retirement is for.

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    1. Delightful Arleen, what sensible counsel! I shall now sit down and wait until I get sensible. This could take a while.

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  5. Was it gentle, steady rain? That would be a good thing, and I wish more of it for you. If it was barely a mist or if it was torrential, not so much.

    Waiting is one of the few things I excel in. Resting is another. I often combine the two.

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    1. A wish most kind, Jenny. But resting and waiting at the same time might qualify as multitasking, and be beyond me.

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  6. Seems like I'm always waiting and it doesn't put me in a good mood. There's waiting and their's waiting.

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    1. Dear Delores, the one true fixed point between waiting and waiting --among all forms of waiting-- I have found to be the New York Times Crossword Puzzle (Wednesday compilation). I recommend the Will Shortz edition which is in bookstores now.

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  7. Anticipating is a little game that we can play on ourselves when we find we resigned to waiting. Or, in the vernacular, we can be mindful. Isn't that a page from Ram Dass, being here now? On my trail I've learned that waiting for something that is, perhaps even ordained, but beyond my knowledge or even control is a time to forget the wait and absorb in the moment. I wish you the best in your wait and beyond.

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    1. Thanks, Tom. I too think waiting can be a good use of time. I'm getting better at it.

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  8. Waiting is often a valuable gift!

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    1. Yes, one we can confer upon ourselves.

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  9. This discipline of "waiting" that you describe; does it include teeth-grinding, nail-chewing or foot-tremorosis?

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    1. Only in its more dramatic and aerobic forms, which I haven't mastered except for occasional moaning.

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  10. In Britain we are schooled first in queuing, so we have the opportunity to become excellent at waiting. Not everyone can manage it though, and you truly have mastered the bench sit. Congratulations on your skills and felicitations on the rain :-) xx

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    1. Thanks. Lisa, and thanks also for sending Dragon round to help with rain clouds. I now include him in all weather calculations.

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  11. LOL! Great last line, Geo! I have to admit that I'm not great at waiting. some people can sit, relax, and wait; not me I'm up, down, all around. Usually in waiting situations Terry pretends that he doesn't know me. I was really surprised by your recent Bonnie Tyler video. I had no idea that she could sing in French (not that I can listen in French!), and it was fun to hear a song with the title, "Louise." Not many people sing songs about a Louise, which I am. I think we may be skipping autumn here and going on to winter. Happy weekend to you and Norma (whose photos I always enjoy!).

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    1. Merci Louise! I empathize with your waiting-jumps --I have them too-- and usually take a crossword puzzle to occupy me in waiting rooms. Magazines are simply not enough to tide me through. Will relay your compliment to Norma.

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  12. Dear Geo.,
    to sit and wait is a very hard discipline - some people call it patience, which doesn't make it easier for me - but the concept is deeply alluring! Humming altogether with Mick one of my favourite tunes "I'm just sitting on a fence", I hear a faint "chop, chop!" in the background...

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    1. Dear Brigitta, welcome! I trust your UK narrow boat trip and Baltic adventures were full of fun. Yes, the faint chopping is probably me; I'm not quite up to loud vigorous chopping right now. Soon perhaps!

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  13. I don't know its source, but my mother often recited the following: "Patience is a virtue; keep it if you can. Seldom found in women, and never found in men."

    Maybe hearing that so frequently had some kind of effect on me, because waiting has never bothered me at all. I simply entertain myself, whether it be with reading materials, a puzzle book, ruminating on my own thoughts, or by striking up conversations with the people around me. My husband, on the other hand, is um... not so good at waiting. When he got out of the Army, he said he wasn't ever going to wait in a line again, something he still tries to follow. Luckily, for those sometimes interminable waits at the doctors' offices, he has learned to simply close his eyes and take a nap. (A skill which makes me quite envious.)

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    1. I too rely on a puzzle book (NYT X-word edited by Will Shortz), Susan, but also empathize with Smarticus's method for most dr. visits. There are times when men decide they have recovered in the waiting room after a nice nap --this has happened to me. However, I sometimes see a hypnotherapist --learning to relax with tinnitus-- and feel waiting room naps might defeat the purpose of the visit.

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