Over the course of the past month or so, reading the inspiring posts on Modern Creative Life, I’ve been thinking more and more about “What’s Next?” There is, of course, a list as long as a garden hose — working in the garden being part of that list! It includes more purging for Goodwill, taking the online art class I signed up for, catching a lot of good theatre in our community, a few gatherings with friends and of course the never-ending family heritage project that has evolved into a family history book of shared stories. All too quickly it will be time for summer road trips and joyful days at the lake where I will park myself on the porch with paint and glue and create things.
All these future activities are noble efforts, fine projects or fun activities and I look looking forward to most of them (the basement purging a little less so!)
But I’m beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t ask “What’s Now?” “Next” will be there today and tomorrow and the day after that.
But “Now” is so very fleeting.
I realized the other day that spring has finally come to our town. Flowering trees are popping into bloom everywhere, forsythia is abundant and driving through what will soon be an arbor of deep green leaves is like now passing through a cloud of soft, misty chartreuse. The world is waking up.
I realized I have been looking so far ahead that I didn’t quite realize what was “now.” And now that I have, I simply want to drink it in like the thickest milk shake (made with real ice cream, please!) or a perfect glass of wine, rich and fragrant.
I looked at my “list of things to do” last night and buried somewhere in the middle was “Call Marie.” Marie is my father’s 92-year-old first cousin and the only living relative left on his side of the family that I know. We’ve talked about going out to the family graves of my grandparents about an hour away for too long. The trip seemed delayed for many good reasons — an illness on her part, weather unsuitable for tromping through a cemetery, busy life that gets in the way.
And it hit me that if I don’t make that “next” now, maybe I’ll call to find it is too late.
And so this morning, I called. And the answering machine picked up. It could be for any number of reasons — a doctor appointment, a haircut, a visit to the store, a nap.
But I will worry until we connect.
“Next” can be so exciting, filled with great expectations.
But “Now” is really what we have at this very moment. “Now” are those moments when you pull the cat closer and hear a loud, contented purr as you stroke the satiny fur. “Now” are the moments on the phone with a far-away friend, the warmth of the body next to you as you drift off to sleep, the fragrance of the hyacinth blossom you hold to your nose as you deeply inhale its sweet scent. “Now” is watching in awe as Harry the Heron makes his springtime debut, bringing with him the promise of all the beautiful days that will be “next.
“Now” is hitting redial and leaving the same message.
And so, while I wait, I look at that list and think “what do I do now?” And I click on the link to my online class, find the video for the first lesson and hit “play.”
About the Author: Jeanie Croope
After a long career in public broadcasting, Jeanie Croope is now doing all the things she loves — art, photography, writing, cooking, reading wonderful books and discovering a multitude of new creative passions. You can find her blogging about life and all the things she loves at The Marmelade Gypsy.