Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Timing is everything

Timing is everything.
I sms'ed that to a friend the other day, and I've been thinking about it ever since.

I remember a film I saw once, with Gwyneth Paltrow, called Sliding Doors. Basically, as I recall, it was about the difference a second or two can make. You get into a lift, or you don't because the doors slide shut. You meet the man of your dreams in that lift – or you miss him....and life is different evermore.

The other morning I wandered down to the Lagoon, like I often do. I had something on my mind, and needed to think it through. So I sat on a bench covered in mosaic (a Sedgefield thing) to do just that – a sort of think/pray/meditate thing.

What I heard was a distinct voice telling me to Pay Attention.
Check the details.
Stay in the moment.
So, I noticed people out on the muddy flats, pumping for prawns, and others joining them, and others leaving.

Two women, with rugsacks and prawn pumps were passing behind me. I turned to them and asked them what they were doing. They told me, stopping their long gumbooted strides, to smile, to unpack their rugsacks to show me their handlines, to explain how they pumped for bait, then moved over the lagoon to a fishing spot where, they assured me they would, some time that day, catch a fish.
For the pot, for supper, for the family, or the neighbour.

They greeted me and moved on, and I watched them till they entered the lagoon and waded out, maybe feeling my eyes on them.

The timing of fish and hook and bait.
Timing of seasons and currents and desultary conversation.

Sliding doors.
Chance encounters.
I went home grateful of meeting them, and their generosity for allowing me to glimpse for a second the pace of a lifestyle, probably generations old, and that it is still continuing.

There was nothing special about them or me that day – but the timing was never the less perfect. I think of them often at that time of the morning, and it is a comfort to know that they continue, most days, with their rhythm of life and me with mine.

And I remember, more and more these days, to pay attention.
Check the details.
Stay in the moment.

Timing is everything
Once outside Prince Albert, on the pass, we came upon a man, stumbling towards us, his face a mask of blood. We stopped. He staggered. Before us on the pass road was a car. There were three bodies. One flung against the cliff, where a smear of red paint showed me the car had ripped through. One was in the road. One was near the edge, where the road gave way to a deep and unforgiving ravine. The car was twisted and still.

I got out. L tried his cellphone. The children peered anxiously at me from the back window. I moved from one body to the next. Some were still, some moaning. Another three people were still in the car. The wandering, blood smeared man approached me again. He reeked of alcohol. The man on the cliff side also did – his trousers were down, and I noticed his Daffy Duck boxers. Another car stopped, another one drove on, shouting that there was no signal there, in that sweeping corner of huge mountain, grey road and green ravine. He would drive on to make the distress call.
I got back in, and we drove on.
There was a man with latex gloves, and a medical kit – and another now stopped, who were moving amongst the injured, tending, touching – in a way that I could not.

Sliding Doors.
A moment before we would have been facing that red out of control metal
coming careering towards us, from side to side, ripping along the cliffside and across, to be propelled back off barriers and rocks, to eventually be still.

How many avoided accidents have there been?

Timing is everything.
Be in the moment.
Pay attention.

So we are faithfully moving forward on this journey, trusting that no opportunities are being missed.
That danger, has been avoided.
That secret other life that could have been, but isn't.  

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