Being and Doing

Marie's old house.

Marie’s old house.

Years ago, I studied with a professor, who was also a friend. I have had many professors who were friends. Well, they thought of me as a friend, while I continued to call them by their formal names long after I had graduated.

In my last program, I noticed most of the professors didn’t care what you called them, first name or whatever. Its a generational thing, but coming from an older cohort, I had some misgivings about this familiarity.

One of my professors who taught Spanish became a friend when I was an undergraduate. She was very friendly with me to the point that I was uncomfortable.  Sometimes she would complain about her mother which I have always found distasteful. I mean if you can respect your Mom, who can you respect?

Anyway, this prof, I shall call RH was also astute when she wanted to be.  One day, she shared that a long time friend of hers and she were drifting apart.  ‘We visit each other every year but when we get together, we spend all our time doing. Its go-go-go.  When we lived near each other, we could spend hours together doing nothing but being.’

Over the years I have pondered these words more than once.  When I was younger, I went-went-went…jobs, school, kids, house and from time to time a husband.  Through it all, I believed that when I retired, I would have more time to stop and smell the flowers. 

My little walks with my dog Johnny everyday may not sound like I’m living the life of a happy person, but I am.  Daily, I notice the changes in the gardens scattered around my neighborhood…daffodils in bloom in one yard, just coming into bud up the street; the Quince bursting into bloom in Pat’s yard; the Mums breaking through the soil in Dawn’s yard; the Downey Woodpecker on the tree in Cathy’s yard, the noisy Cardinal in Kathy’s yard yelling “Cheer, Cheer,Cheer;” the Chickadees flying through the back yards making their stuttering noises.  Oh my goodness, the new neighbor’s Rotweiller jumps up and scares me and Johnny. Someday, he will take that fence down.

Blossom of a quince

Blossom of a quince (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Every spring a different neighbor is gone.  Marie, the lady archivist up the street died last fall. Pat took her white and yellow Garfield cat in when she died.  Marie’s heirs have been renovating her old house all winter, preparing it for a spring sale. This morning, when I passed, Garfield the cat was sitting next to the front door…waiting for his dead mistress to open it. So sad. But cats know the meaning of being if anybody does.    

9 thoughts on “Being and Doing

  1. I’m trying to learn to stop and just enjoy life around me. I sometimes get so wrapped up in what needs to be done. It’s going to take a little longer for me to switch gears in my head.

    I remember losing people in my old neighborhood and it makes me sad to think of it. Now, here in Hawaii there are a lot of older neighbors, relatives and friends and I dread thinking of losing any of them.

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  2. Very reflective post. Of course, those are always some of your best. I’d say you are doing a very admirable job of smelling the flowers. And growing them.

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  3. Yes, you did say it all here. My last time around in school, I only made two close friends both profs. Yes, too, most of my close friends have scattered. Everywhere, come to think of it. I’d love to sit and chat with them but they are still go go going, and I am sliding sideways. Perhaps I’m being. LOL

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  4. It took a stroke for me to really appreciate my husband’s travel preference of including plenty of time for “just being.” I think just being is an art that requires maturity and a decision to practice contentment. And kudos on your photo success.

    Similar to your neighborhood, few of us “old-timers” are left in our neighborhood. Our section of the circle we live on is enjoying a welcomed trickle of young homeowners– some couples or singles with children, some with no children. I appreciated your descriptions that invited me along on a delightful stroll. Hope that fence holds against that humongous canine.

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