Monday, August 08, 2011

Being In the Moment on an Old Tractor -- Column from Sunday's Paper

   Inspiration is a strange and elusive thing. People often ask me how I come up with ideas for my columns. When I have an interesting encounter, or experience some personal calamity (which often happens), it’s an instant topic. Sometimes I hear or read something that sparks an idea and I’m off and running, but at other times, ideas are as scarce as cheap gas.

   I have a number of things I do when I’m uninspired — I’ll look at old photographs, riffle through my old souvenir drawer, or read a book of quotations.

   Normally one of these provide a sparkle of inspiration and I’m good to go. None of these techniques helped this week. So, I went to Plan B — I walked down to the barn, fired up the tractor, and set out to bushhog the better part of Walker County.

   The weatherman had predicted evening thunder showers and there were clouds inching down from the north. I could smell rain on the wind, but I heard no thunder, so I bushhogged on.

   As the sun dipped below the horizon, it cast an erie tint to the approaching storm clouds. The sky began to color. The only words that came to mind to describe that shade of yellow, orange, and grey, were angry butterscotch.

   I could feel inspiration seeping in around the corners of my mind. I knew immediately that Plan B was the right choice.

   When I get on my tractor, something interesting happens. Stress and worry dissipate like cash at a casino. I’m not sure if it’s the wind on my face, the drone of the engine, the smell of freshly cut grass, or if it’s something primal and unknowable. But when I’ve been fretting over a decision or situation, just sitting in that tractor seat for a while, brings me into the moment. It’s almost like kicking my mind out of gear.

   Being in the moment is rare. I’ve spent too much of my life either replaying some event from the past over and over, or worrying about some future event. Why is that? I’m not sure if this is a recent phenomenon brought on by life that always seems to move too fast, or if it’s as old as mankind.

   In order to get everything done we have to multi-task, which means you do several things but you rarely do them as well as you could if you focused on one thing at a time.

   But being in the moment, slows life down. When life slows down, you can often work out complex problems in your sub conscience, so that you make better decisions when you do get back to the work at hand.

   I’m sure people have various ways of getting into the moment. Meditation does it, and I’ve heard people say that jogging provides a similar mental get-away.

   I’m not sure if bushhogging would work for everyone, but it works for me. As I bushhogged, I not only came up with the idea for this column, but I wrote a chorus to a new song, and made a personal decision that’s been bugging me for months.

   The beauty of this approach is that not only do I get inspired and solve problems, buy my property looks great.


  1. Not so much planning on bushhogging but I find the same experience when swimming my three to five miles or an hour of yoga. Mindful anything I think is the name of the game.

    Thanks again for food for thought...

  2. I'm glad you got some deep thinking done :)

    What exactly is bushhogging btw?

  3. @ Sush. I read your blog tonight and I'm humbled. Thanks so much. I've had a ton of your friends stop by and start following.
    @ Sarah, a bushhog is basically a huge lawnmower that you drag behind a tractor. It not only cuts grass but small trees and anything else that gets in the way.
    You should try it sometimes....but as Sush points out, yoga does it for me as well.

  4. Sounds like a very happy result!

  5. Well I think the end result worked! I dont think Im a bushhogging person but that is okay if I ever need to try it I will have to give you shout and get yoru address so I can come by and try it. Seems to work well for you.

  6. Yay for bushhogging!! Whatever that is - it sounds like it worked!!

    Now I'm generally very nosey and can't help but wonder at your personal decision! Ahem! Take care

  7. I know exactly what you mean about bushhogging. The ocean does that for me, Rick. I have to force myself to walk my neighborhood, but will walk miles lost in thought on the beach. Thanks for 'following' my blog.

  8. Next time ya need some inspiration, come on over to our place. I got lots of work that needs doin'. Bring yer tractor. :)

  9. You are almost there. Thanks for following me too.

    I agree about the Golden Years and I think it even has something to do with this post.

    I think we know in the Golden Years - it is now or never to get in touch with ourselves and how important it is to do that.

    I'm glad you have a place - bushhogging?

  10. Driving a tractor and smelling the incoming rain... I think I'd like that. Unfortunately, I have only a patio, so no bushhogging for me. My techniques of choice: walks at the beach, yoga, swimming. (There's something about the sound of water in your ears as you're swimming - so soothing. I've actually dreamt about it.

  11. Hi Rick! Sush highly recommended you. To be honest, I hesitated momentarily, as I find I'm falling behind a lot with keeping up with everyone I follow, but curiosity got the better of me and, having arrived, I now find it imperative to become your newest follower.

  12. Rick, I salute you as the Sultan of the Simile.

    "dissapates like cash at a casino".

    Good one. There were some others today, too, and you usually throw in at least 2 or 3 per post.

    So here's to the Sultan of Similes.

  13. Hi Rick.....found you through Sush. I, too, believe in living in the moment.....sometimes unfortunately, it is yesterday's moment, or tomorrow's moment....LOL LOL LOL......but I really do try to stay in the present moment as much as I can. It is truly a wonderful way to live one's life.

    BTW What in the world is bushogging? LOL


  14. I clean Rick. I just get up and clean like crazy. Maybe if I knew how to bush hog it would help but I need to move my body. It always seems to work! I like your way though, it sounds more fun. Love Di ♥

  15. I am humbled and flattered that I've picked up almost 20 followers since yesterday.
    Thanks to you all. It's my intention to be a good blog buddy, but I fall short, you all have my permission to chide me unmercifully.
    Again, thanks.

  16. Well said! It's fun to hear about the way inspiration comes to others. For me, it's everywhere. I run in the mornings and muse on my wip the entire time. Perfect way to kill two tasks at once.


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