Sunday, November 9, 2008

Carpe infrequentia

My neighbors use a leaf-blower. I'm more primitive. I use a rake. Back and forth, the crunching roll of leaves, the chiming of the metal tines, the occasional 'ping' as I hit a stone, over and over and over. Raking becomes a meditation. My mind empties, the mental chatter ceases. There is nothing but the motion and sound of raking. I suddenly realize that whole minutes have gone by without a thought, just awareness of the motion, the sound.

Moving meditation is easier for me - Solvitur ambulando - it is solved by walking. Or solvitur purgamentum (sweeping - the closest thing to raking in latin) in this case. Repetitive motion soothes my busy brain, thoughts and cares drift away, leaving a serene emptiness in its place, if only for a moment or so. Hands to work, hearts to God/dess, hands to repetitive movement, mind to emptiness. A rosary or a rake, it's the repetition that frees us.

When my mind gets too busy, when it spins out of control, physical activity brings me back to center. It's part of why I love pastry. It's tactile, it's repetitive, it requires focus. There's a zen to it, a zone where everything but the moment falls away.

Carpe infrequentia. Seize the emptiness. Wait, that's not very zen. Seizing the emptiness won't work.

Complexo infrequentia. Embrace the emptiness.

That's more like it.

Note: aside from solvitur ambulando, all latin translations were done with an on-line translator. so, accuracy is not guaranteed.


Jenn said...

I miss having a yard sometimes. Matt used to say I was crazy to enjoy raking but everything you said here is just how I felt about it, the meditative repetition was so nice. Then again I thought he was crazy to enjoy cutting back rose bushes and digging only to find creepy crawly bugs under rocks and stuff so guess we're even :)

Bridgete said...

I didn't like raking in Oregon because the leaves were always wet. It was really more shoveling piles of muck into a yard debris bag. It's probably much more enjoyable with dry leaves.

kate said...

eeeeeeeeeeeew! These were nice and dry, and I don't bother bagging. I just rake them onto a tarp and take them to the compost heap.

Ginger said...

this post was pretty meditative to read too. great writing kate. i felt like i was there with you, listening to the rake's repetitive sound.