Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Early Mornings, Naps and Martha Stewart

I have always been an early riser. I love the mornings when few folks are out. The mornings are also the coolest time of the day, and if the days are hot, I choose to start early and end early on outside projects. In the mornings, before anyone is up at our house and the world begins to spin, I love the smell of the coffee and quiet moments on the front porch. The older I get, the longer it takes my brain to begin functioning correctly, so I need a few minutes.

Some of my best memories have come around a mid-day nap when I have been up early. Take elk hunting, for example. I hike way up into the timber or along a ridge, find a comfortable tree or a dead fall to lean against and doze, nodding in and out. That time being quiet and just sitting there has provided many a shot at unsuspecting elk. I remember once waking, standing up and being in the middle of a herd of them. Crazy.

Our cat likes to nap a lot, and I know few earthly creatures that are as calm and cool as Pumpkin. Pumpkin was an old feral stray that, over the years, has conned his way into a regular feeding bowl and warm comforts during the winter months. I usually find him tucked away napping or watching his cat world go by. I have seen him pounce on other cats coming in the yard, and he kicks tail on them. He doesn’t want anyone coming in on his gig. But, mostly, he is calm, seemingly going from one objective to the next or resting.

I like a breeze when I am napping, too. I love the sound of the wind through the trees, the song of the wind chimes, the breeze crossing through the house. The air seems cleaner when it is moving, too -- no science behind that observation, just a personal thought.

I saw where Barbara Jordan was once quoted as saying, “Think what a better world it would be if about 3 o’clock, the whole world just had a few cookies, a glass of milk and took a nap.” How can you not like that? Who would not like that in their day-timer every day?

If you really struggle with naps, just consider what Martha Stewart was once quoted as saying, “I catnap now and then, but I think while I nap, so it’s not a waste of time.” That’s it -- nap and think at the same time. I may think best when I nap.

The Mexican culture has it figured out -- siesta. They work hard until it gets hot, then they find a shade tree and nap for a few hours; revitalized, they return to work and finish the day. Long haul drivers say when they get tired, they stop on the side of the road and nap for a few minutes. It refreshes them so they can get on with their work.

I know some folks who just can’t nap or slow down during the day. That is fine. My wife, forget it, she is non-stop all day. I don’t know where the energy comes from, but it wears me out just writing about it and I might have to take a quick nap right here and now.

Truthfully, I have said it before, it is these moments and ones like it when I best communicate with God -- quiet, restful, contemplative times. He is always there; I just don’t always think about Him being there. I guess maybe I take Him for granted. Maybe I just get moving so fast that I forget to talk with Him about things. When I can rest, when I can slow down and be still, I notice Him there with me and I do better.

Yes, there are times you have to mow the world down, push through when you are tired to get something done. Yes, some people can be slothful and wait for the world to hand them something or fill their needs. I am not talking about that.

I am thinking we might be better off if we were more like Pumpkin, maybe a Mexican Pumpkin. Work hard and pay attention to what is going on around us. Take some time each day to slow down and make sure life and the things important to us are not slipping by. I, for one, am going to try my best to take time each day to check in with God, try to keep Him closer, to listen when He whispers and not wait for Him to be yelling, “Hey knuckle head, I am talking to you!”

I will not waste another minute when I get a chance to nap, either. I am going to be thinking the whole time, just like Martha. Planning meals, considering drapes for the foyer and cool new craft ideas will be my objective, and I vow to stay napping until I figure out that crazy tomato plant thing I saw on TV that grows upside down.

Thinking, napping and quiet time with God -- perfect!

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