Nothing has taught me as much about slowing down and experiencing the moment like accompanying my toddler on a walk around the block. (And I thought living through the early days of the pandemic was an exercise in presence!)
My knee-jerk reaction is to keep her moving — to make our walk the verb that it’s supposed to be. But Maeve wants to stop and pick up rocks. She wants to point out balls in neighbors’ yards and to touch the tulips. She’s delighted when she can spend several minutes with the cats down the block. She knows when we get to a certain hedge, we’ll probably play a quick game of hide-and-seek.
So I’ve learned to slow down and to let her lead, even when she doesn’t take us anywhere but to a particular flowering rosemary bush to watch the bees do their work for several long minutes.
As Jenny Odell says in Saving Time, “Letting go of one overwhelming rhythm, you invite the presence of others. Perhaps more important, you remember that the arrangement is yours to make.”