William Henry Channing (1810 – 1884), is credited with this inspirational quote about life:
To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich;
to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart;
to study hard;
to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never;
in a word,
to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common —
this is my symphony.
I love this and have a wonderful book by Mary Engelbreidt in which she illustrates this sentiment.
It’s hard though to be the conductor of my life and to live up to this symphony. These last few days I’ve been on vacation and was surprised at how empty my brain was most of the time.
I sat along the Skyline Drive as I waited for my favorite boy toy to take his many pictures, looking at the mountains, feeling the warm rock on my bottom and the cool mountain air across my face. And I thought about. . . nothing. I found it hard to even pray. I simply sat and enjoyed, which was perfect for the moment.
So how do I make my life my symphony, my magnum opus, which Wikipedia says:
. . . refers to the largest, and perhaps the best, greatest, most popular, or most renowned achievement of a writer, artist, or composer.
My relationships are part of my symphony – talking frequently to my daughter, mother and sister. Writing letters to my niece. Staying in touch with my friends. Mentoring my employees.
My house is nice, but not fancy. Most everything in it is loved, well used and comfortable.
My journals and photographies are part of my symphony, the recording of my life. I look through them to see what I did, who I did it with, and what I enjoyed at the moment. My journals fill in details the camera can’t catch, such as my emotions and the small details that happen so quickly.
I don’t look up at the stars as often as I’d like, but it is nice to step out on the deck late at night and look upwards before I call in the beagle one last time. He usually comes quickly so he can get a cuddle before the going in. The others are in already, so he gets attention without any competition.
I’m starting to put together ideas for goals for 2012. I plan to revisit this topic as I consider what should be important for me for the rest of this year, next year, and after that. For now though, it is good to remember that my life is my symphony, and I need to be a diligent conductor of how it plays.
This little wren hopped right in front of me as I was photographing the fall colors along the Potomac River. Having a song in my heart is another way to enjoy life’s symphony.
Word for tomorrow – SUNK. If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.
I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at www.livingtheseasons.com.