Always stop for a time-out

I looked out my kitchen window earlier this week and there was my black cat sitting like a statue in the driveway—staring at me with her telepathic flat stare that said, “You must let me in.”
I think “Millie” is feeling the pinch of neglect these days as I race around here like the human version of racehorse “American Pharaoh,” winner of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
I put the spring in “Spring” and the get up in “go.” I am a machine—the female underdog shadow of middleweight boxer Manny Pacquiao as I fight my way through the chores and to-do lists that multiply like rabbits on my kitchen table.
My cats miss me while my youngest daughter, who is home from university for the summer, certainly has cause to ask me if I remember who she is as we pass each other in the porch doorway with my spring causes stuffed under both arms and in my hands.
And the causes that do not fit there are thrown in back packs and slung both shoulders.
I have lists in my jean and shirt pockets, in my shoes, and two wrapped in pencils shoved along the top of each of my ears.
I make a beeline for the barn to do my chores there and I can feel my Grampa Joe’s mission-style focus teeming in my stride.
I was in the grocery store after work on Monday evening, so hell-bent on getting home to attack “The List” that my pace nearly put two car lengths in between my and the daughter who’s home for the summer.
“What is your name again?”
As I typed this, Bruce Cockburn popped into the stream of music playing on my laptop with “Last Night of the World.”
“What would I do that was different?” he chimed, strumming that beautiful guitar of his.
The first thought I had was that I’d bargain for more time—because I’d have too much that I wanted to do on that last night. Then I laughed out loud and said, “Beth, you just don’t get it.”
And then I really got to thinking about what I would do on the last night of the world. Here goes:
I’d listen to guitar music while facing the sunset. I’d say the words “I love you” a lot to a lot of people I care about.
I would meditate a little, say thank you a lot, and try that expensive red wine I’ve always wanted to taste.
I would watch birds fly and listen to them sing—because they sing anyway. I like that about birds; they are among the most genuinely positive creatures on Earth.
I would eat chocolate and write some good thoughts about my life.
I’d listen to the late Louis Armstrong sing “What a Wonderful World,” I’d burn my to-do lists, and I’d laugh in the face of my misgivings.
And to think I wasn’t even going to slow down long enough to write this column.
Slowing down is on my list, too.

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