We are expecting visitors on Saturday. They are coming to see our Three Little Piggies (with a view to taking them to a new life as pets on their small camp site), and to judge us, (and conclude that we are shockingly awful people). I may have made that last bit up. But, as always, when someone is due to visit our humble abode, I find myself looking at it with new eyes, and worrying about ‘whatever will they think?’
I like my old eyes better. For some magical reason, they never really notice the cobwebs, and the thick layers of winter wood-burner dust that adorns every surface. They don’t perceive the muddy cat pawprints up all the windows, and the tangled mess of dead vegetation and mud strewn over the area outside our front door, which is supposed to be a sort of raised flower-bed. They just don’t register the fact that, frankly, we live in a bit of a hovel.
But my pretend-I-am-a-visitor eyes see all, and they are horrified.
So, while Simon is round at our friends’ house doing some wiring work in their new stables, I am planning to spring-clean the garbage dump that is our home, with the intention of making it look like a normal house, which can be entered without fear of contracting some terrible disease.
Note that I say planning to… It is Thursday afternoon. I still have the rest of today and all of tomorrow to clean the whole house from top to bottom, in between doing the usual daily animal chores. But it is a lovely, gorgeous, warm and sunny Thursday afternoon. And the day is such a perfect day that it is impossible not to be overtaken by its calm and cheery Spring-like quality, so that all sense of urgency – any sense of concern for tomorrow – disappears.
Yes, I could be vacuuming, and cleaning floors and windows and cobwebby walls and ceilings right this very moment, so that I will have plenty of time to do all that I consider needs doing, and arrive at Saturday with a clean and tidy house and sense of relaxed preparedness. Or I could bash out a quick blog post, whilst drinking tea and partaking of a deliciously large piece of ‘flan’, and then go back outside to sit in the sunshine, listening to the myriad birds chirping their glee in the trees, and watching the kittens and the chickens pootling about happily in the (admittedly messy) yard, chasing tiny insects and little dreams.
And if I stop to consider for a moment that I could in fact be dead tomorrow, or, at the very least, that the weather might be grey or cool or wet or dull, it is quite clearly my duty not to delay gratification, but instead to ‘seize the day, and put as little trust as possible in the future‘. Of course, it is much easier to seize the day when the day is a nice one. I must admit to finding it a tad harder to seize the sort of days that are filled with driving tests, or dental appointments, or car accidents. But as a general rule, I guess it’s true to say we live better when we live in the now, and not in our tomorrows.
My son made me realise just how hard it is to do, though. During one of our recent customary evening instant messenger exchanges I wished him an enjoyable rest-of-the-evening, and he complained that he couldn’t enjoy his evenings because they went too quickly and were always tinged with the dread of going to work the next morning. Actually, what he said was, “I’m crap at carping the diem”, which made me laugh and want to cry at the same time. He, like me, is extraordinarily good at procrastinating, and extraordinarily bad at delaying gratification. But, for all of that, he still cannot properly enjoy his present moments.
But, hey ho, worrying about that, is as pointless as worrying about tomorrow. This day – this one that is right here, right now – is too good to waste. So sod the dirt, and the mess and the shoulds and the oughts. I’m off out to play sticks with the dogs and soak up the loveliness that is Now. But before I go, I will leave you with yet another profound quote:
“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”
(Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes)