Watching The Paint Dry

There’s that saying: “it’s like watching the paint dry,” which means something is very boring and tedious. I repainted our deck several weeks ago. So, when I stepped out onto it early this morning, the paint had already been dry for quite some time. Therefore, I looked for something else to watch—with a whole day ahead of me and nothing to do—with no responsibilities looming over my head to cloud my perception, or to limit my vision. What that saying doesn’t tell us, is that whole worlds can open up before us, when we take time to “watch the paint dry”.

First thing I notice is the even rhythm of my breathing—the inflow and exhale—the cool air filling my nostrils and then warming, as it fills my lungs. And next: there is the beating of my heart—barely perceptible—but inside there, deep inside, keeping time with my breath—together providing the cadence for the symphony that is to come. Fog enfolds the conifers—cedars, firs and pines rising through the mist—dark forms hidden, and then appearing, before disappearing once more. The flight of a hawk overhead, the faint motion of the air stirred up by its wings—leaving audible traces in its wake—as it glides into the canopy of big-leaf maples to my right. The glow of morning light arises. Smaller birds awaken and call to one another, to me, to our creator. I empty my mind of useless thoughts, and joy arises to fill the vacuum therein. A quiet mind is a happy mind.

With gentle force I allow the joy of living to fill the hidden recesses of my quieted mind, and love for God accumulates—abounding and increasing in density within me—so that the usual disturbed, and disturbing actions of my unruly thoughts have no place to land—so that they fall away, and drift off to who knows where. There is sunlight in the uppermost tree tops now. It is light golden, and dreamy, as the mists soften its luster. Patches of pale blue emerge momentarily, far above me, and are then wiped away again by the flowing whites and grays of the dewy sky. I allow my being to be a house of worship now, I close my doors to the world, open the door to my heart, and open my windows to heaven. I am as the trees now reaching upward, a candle-stick and a flame of love for God. Thoughts are knocking at my doors, desperate to come in, but love will not allow them; and they drain away like refuse, melting in the heat of devotion, consumed by a greater and more urgent desire.

The sky to my left has turned a vivid pink, like spun cotton-candy, soft and billowing, swirling around and through the trees. The moment is beautiful, each moment is beautiful—full and rich. I see tree branches—illumined, glorious and golden in the gathering morning light—with green feathery foliage uplifting to the sky. Small black birds scatter—sharp dots against the white cloud-cover, and pigeons far in the distance arise in flocks of medium-gray, suddenly turning white as they shift in the sunlight. Every moment is an ecstasy of experience, pregnant with a superabundance too full to be comprehended in its entirety.

Imagine! Watch even a single blade of grass—so small and lowly—drawing in the vibrant energy of the sun and pulling nutrients up through its roots—converting these to life, and adding to the blade’s girth and stature. There is no shortage of intrigue in the moments of life all around us, and in us. Yes, even watching the grass grow is a joyful event beyond our comprehension, to which we can devote our entire attention.


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