I had been hurrying all day. With the extra traffic awareness that is necessary in Pendleton this week, I didn't even realize that I had been on edge with every trip. I interviewed, wrote, ran errands, discussed story ideas and ran assorted errands, all while feeling more tense than I needed to be.
Sometimes, I confuse these anxious, hurrying spells with efficiency. Then I notice that I really didn't get very much accomplished, other than managing to look like a daunting force of nature as I moved from place to place and job to job.
My working-at-the-office day was scheduled to blend into my working-at-home day by picking up my daughter at the middle school football jamboree. I rushed (hard to do at 20 mph, but I had been practicing all day), parked, and began to scan the crowd for a familiar figure.
I spotted her, with two friends, sprawled on the grass with their heavy backpacks serving as pillows. My hand moved to snap the door open, so I could hurry to her and rush her off to the store and home.
Just then, two of them pointed their arms to the sky, picking out images in the clouds. My hand relaxed and I took a deep breath. The clouds scudded by and they found countless other pictures. They giggled. Still lying down, oblivious of the crowds around them, they performed an impromptu can-can. They put their heads together to whisper. In spite of the unceasing wind, they attempted to brush their hair.
I watched them until the game was over, and half of the crowd had left for home. I lost track of time. I didn't worry about what I had to do next. When they finally stood, I walked over to take my third of the trio home.
For what I later calculated to be about 30 minutes, I got to relax, unwind and clear my mind. It didn't matter that supper was a bit later. It didn't seem important that the house chores ended a bit later at night.
I remembered an advice column I recently read, in which a woman laments that her adult son never calls and never visits. She said she wondered why she even bothered to raise him, when she was not getting anything in return for the years of hard work.
How sad that she didn't realize how much she was getting during her son's formative years. How tragic that she can't see that another reward exists in her son's very ability to be independent and live on his own now. How loathsome that she didn't realize all of those soul-filled bear hugs were more valuable than any riches on earth.
Yesterday, without even knowing it, my child pierced my manic drive to get everything done by sunset and showed me that there just might be a dolphin-shaped cloud above my head - and that taking the time to search for it was more important than any list of chores could ever be.
Terry Murry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (541) 966-0810.