Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Time Out: Remembering How to Breathe

En route to the Pacific Northwest Writer's Association's Summer Conference in Seattle, I found myself zinging along the back roads that curl across eastern Washington. I had left home later than prudent, a million things still milled about on my to-do list, and a dozen responsibilities percolated in my head, assuring me that taking time to go to a conference was the most asinine idea I'd had in a while.

I wasn't so lost in thought, however, that I missed the vast and silent beauty stretching out before me. In fact, the sheerness of air, the distinct layers of land, and the myriad of colors did more than take my breath away. They also reminded me how insignificant my problems are; how eternal the purity of nature is; how gracious and generous our Creator is; and how incapable I am of naming every shade or texture or shape that graces the landscape. The moon, pregnant with possibility, lent a new sense of purpose to my journey. I felt less foolish, more hopeful. I pulled the car over, prayers of thanksgiving on my lips, and sat in wonder, just soaking it all in. Then I leapt out, dug through my luggage, and found my camera.

Deciding to take time out to simply breathe is more than token gratitude. Most days, it is a matter of survival, determining our levels of response and our abilities to face new challenges. Although I'd love to say I daily practice yoga and deep breathing and, yes, even spinning, the truth is that I often forsake exercise & meditation and opt instead for frantic coping, moments of clarity, and those precious detours that remind me how to breathe.


Anonymous said...

Eastern Washington is a very different place from the west coast. I was surprised the first time we drove from Seattle to Spokane. It was like the beautiful trees just suddenly kinda...stopped. But it had its own stretching beauty and it kind of reminds me of west Texas.

Many times silence and awe are the only place to find said Creator. I'm glad you stopped and took it in. :)

Anthony said...

Ahhh, Eastern Washington. I spent many a mile driving between Spokane and Seattle in my youth. I know exactly how you feel.

May I suggest a desert drive at night. The stars, minus the light pollution hidden behind the Cascades, is an awe inspiring sight, so very many many come out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Alex, for the reminder to slow down and see what you're looking at. I drove the same stretch of road at about the same time to a work related conference - wonder if we passed along the way?

Inland Empire Girl said...

I love the photo you took. I agree... it has been my camera that has been instrumental in teaching me to slow down and take in simple beauty. After this last week-end I love the reminder again.

Alex Moore said...

@selonus: at first it looks like a waste land...but then the different textures start popping out at you, and you realize the starkness has a beauty all of its own. Thanks for understanding:)

@anthony: i love how stars can remind you 1) how insignificant one is and 2) how every single tiny thing is delightful. Those two things might seem opposites, but many of life's great truths seem to be;)

@uppington: coincidence amazes me sometimes...well, if you saw a flash of light and heard something break the sound barrier, that was me:) ok. I'm joking. but yes, we may have passed! how odd.

@inland empire girl: your photos are my inspiration. I love perusing your blog & seeing all the different 'slants of light' you catch.