I’ve taken to walking to my local Walmart neighborhood market daily. Sometimes we walk twice or even three times to downtown Bentonville. Sometimes I go alone. Sometimes with my family.
In my frequent walks, I started to notice things I didn’t before. The trees blooming. The yappy dogs on the corner. The hard working construction crews scattered about the neighborhood mostly speaking in Spanish and laughing.
One of the things I have become a bit obsessed with on my walks is an older house with aluminum siding. Snuggled amongst the demolition of the old houses and modern new $1m homes is this one home sticking out like a residential time capsule from the time of Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra.
The house is immaculate…but could have been teleported directly out of 1968. To complete the time warp, out-front is parked a 1970s Chevy Truck with a rusted hood and a mid 1970s AMC Hornet. They look well loved and well maintained.
In the back I sometimes see an elderly gentlemen at work, in well ordered garden. Everything has its place. A small shed, composting area, rain recycling buckets gerry rigged from his roof and well used small utlity posts repurposed as tomato stakes, There is also a small table and old chair from him to reflect on his work.
Every day i wonder “what has he done today”. Today I saw him at work, using a simple garden hoe to till the soil of his plot. He had jean shorts on and a belt…with no shirt, but a pair of work shoes on. I assume tomorrow he will plant a little and then relax.
On my walks and runs I think about all the worries we have. I think about the contentment of this man who so reminds me of my father and his father before him who spent so much time in the peace of their gardens to calm their minds.
I have come to appreciate, and I guess secretly envy the seeming serenity of this older gentlemen. I have always struggled finding contentment, even though i have every reason to be so. If I am honest, indulging in those feelings make me feel guilty and wasteful.
I find myself thinking that perhaps I might find it in doing the simple things like taking a walk…or planting some things…and then maybe sitting in my garden. And then doing absolutely nothing. Of course, then my next thought is, of course,…if only I had time.