‘If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learnt how to live’ – Lin Yutang
Lin Yutang was a Chinese philosopher who knew how to lead the good life. I clearly am not a philosopher, and neither do I seem to be doing great at leading the good life. But there was a time I thought I did. I used to get up on Sundays a little bit later than I do these days and lounge around in bed, reading. Then, meditation entered my life. I switched my workouts such that I was doing a longer workout on Sunday. I forgot to lounge in bed and read because I am of such mind that I think – Oh! I HAVE to get up. I HAVE to meditate. I HAVE to work out!
(I know, I know. I need help ;-))
But on Sunday, when I woke up after another rain-interrupted sleep, I felt like reading instead of rushing about to do my ‘tasks.’ “It would be nice to lie down on the roof and read,” I thought, dragging my meditation pillow and mat outside. The roof was soaked from the rain—patterns of the night’s past still fresh in the present. It was still drizzling when I settled in under the awning. I lay down with the book and smiled at myself, delighted that I have rewarded myself such. My mind went to Rosario in Argentina as I read through ‘Furia.’ Plip plop beat the rain against the awning. But there was a slightly different sound after a few moments. It sounded like a whoosh, a flutter, and a kiss all at once. I turned around, trying to locate the sound.
There they were.
A flight of dragonflies.
Plip plop went the music from the rain. And there were these adorable beings, dancing to that music, just delighting in being alive. They looked utterly joyful as they danced what must have been the Bangalore Tango. Hop here. Hop there. A swoop here and a graceful lift there. I laid my book down and watched in amazement. For that moment, my dear heart, so full of anxiety, smiled.
I don’t know how long I watched them. Maybe it was a few seconds. Maybe it was a few minutes. I kept the book aside, and as Lin Yutang advised, I did nothing. I watched them dance.
(I wanted to share that moment with you—so a few seconds later, I did take this video. Aren’t they the sweetest? My phone skills aren’t the greatest, and this is a 3-year-old phone, so please bear with me for the poor quality).
When I kept the phone aside and turned back, they were gone. Just like that. Isn’t that our life these days? Isn’t that how it feels? We turn around and there! Our years have become generations. People have become memories. And we somewhere forgot to dance through it all.
This crystallized display of joy was a reminder of something we are struggling to find within ourselves during these times. But it’s there.
We haven’t forgotten to dance.
We can smile because we feel the sun or laugh because the rain tickles us.
We are alive. And oh, let’s be useless.
And how beautiful a thing that is.
A hug from me to you. Be well. May there be a dance in your day today.