Friday, July 12, 2013

What floating has taught me about pausing.

I couldn't catch my breath.

I rolled onto my back in the lake and felt the line of water along my sides, my clothes feeling like tissue paper jellyfish around me and little gasps of air escaping my lungs.  I voluntarily jumped in here but I couldn't calm myself down enough to float; I can't seem to remember how to relax enough to forget the idea of sinking.

The fog was starting to set in on top of the water, and patterned rings were drifting out from where I lay in the milky blue vastness. The setting sun was starting to cast everything a dull pink and I continued to try to remember how to sit still.

Isn't it funny how we are so used to rushing around and running through life and we forget how to pause? It was almost uncomfortable to take a moment, to float in the water and listen to the crickets and cicadas hum in the trees. I don't think I realized how caught up I was in the pace of which things were going until they slowed down.

I laid in the water, counting my deep inhales and thought back to when I first started travelling 8 weeks ago. I drove from Jackson to Denver to Taos to Lander to Salt Lake City to Yosemite to San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Ventura, Los Angeles, took a plane to Washington D.C., to Charleston to Chapel Hill to take a plane all the way back to the opposite side of the country again and start a full work week.

And as I lay, I thought the culmination of those places and memories of babies being born and graduates, dusty bars of people with hands that have seen long days and hard work, steep granite walls, sagebrush plains, and barefoot bluegrass bands. I've had some of the most cinematic moments of golden light while paddling over waves, birds flying in their V's overhead, and heat rising off of long stretches of highways in the Southwest. I thought about happiness and loss and fear; the sum of experiences that make up a person and all of the moments over the course of a lifetime that shape a soul. It's incredible how much life can change you in a matter of months. The time flew by.

My rushing is a different kind of rushing than most people's. I jump from city to countryside, all beautiful places, but it's still rushing. Being a freelance artist, it's a constant fight to make sure I have an upcoming job or project to work on. This line of work encourages you to live in the future, but no plans are ever set. Because of this, I forget to take moments to float and pause. I don't want to reach the end of my life always having been constantly living falling forward.

It's something to work on.