At least, that’s what my Dad used to tell us.
He was quick to clarify, Not a religious sin, but one against Mother nature.
He wouldn’t punish us for this, of course, but he sure frightened Mary Lou, from down the block the first time she witnessed this exchange.
“Daddy, I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!” (sentence whined in dramatic, 7 year old voice…)
Calmly responding, Dad would simply say, “That’s it. Go get the Ruler.”
Mary Lou had a much different experience of her father sending her for the ruler, or a small tree branch, or the Ping Pong Paddle.
We knew this routine, and I suppose, could have proceeded on our own, but Dad worked so much, on a day off, we’d do anything for a verbal exchange with him. Besides the whole experience seemed better if Daddy had sent us on the challenge.
We’d get the Ruler, and our task then was to find a flat surface of some kind, so we could measure out one square foot of visual space to explore…at length…until we found something of interest, sometimes even something amazing.
These measured “windows” kept us not-bored for many Sunday afternoons, or summertime hours.
There is way more to this story but I’m thinking of it today because of how much gratitude I feel for my father’s creative way of teaching us about important life lessons. This one for me, has expanded over the years to cover all manner of scenes and circumstances. It is like my Mindful Practice now…finding a “window” of music, or taste, or rest, or movement, etc.
It’s no longer a tool to counteract boredom. I have walked through my long life now, with this theme running at all times in the background.
I truly can’t remember the last time I felt bored. There is always something new to see, to discover, to learn, to experience, with all my senses. And there is always more than one way look at things…the same old everyday sights…and even the painful things.
I can’t tell you how much this has helped me through 693 days of mostly seclusion during the Pandemic.
We are having a HUGE wave of new Covid cases in my area, up 700% in the last month. Not boring, but frightening and quite depressing, so I sent myself to “get the Ruler” this morning before my daily walk.
Here’s what I spotted in about a 3 square foot area right outside my door that I never look at in the dead of winter it’s so scruffy. But today, I slowly zoomed in, and found beauty of the season.
This strange “rock” has been in many places all around my property. I hadn’t thought about it in years!
On my way back home from today’s walk, way down my hill, I spotted a tiny window, a visual “square foot” framed by the trees.
As I made my way, I watched that “square foot” transform right before my eyes.
The closer I got to my driveway, the more the view opened up, showing me the miracle of the Olympic Mountains, looking close enough to visit. They are 158 miles away.
And there was the Columbia Tower, 11 miles away.
From my perspective, it looked easily as tall as those gorgeous, finally snow-covered peaks.