The Long Way

Lleida, Catalunya, Spring, 2020

When a simple walk to the supermercat, or supermarket, is the only permissible trip outside in a day, I am going to carefully consider this journey.

Under the rules of Spain’s quarantine, I am not free to come and go as I please. Unlike people in most every other country in Europe, Spanish citizens and residents are not allowed outside to exercise, not even performed responsibly and alone close to our homes.

So, a short walk to the grocery store is reframed. Mindfulness is prioritized so that:

  • The small steps are appreciated.
  • The sunshine, wind, or raindrops are felt on my face.
  • The spring flowers, which have disregarded the challenges of the outside world, receive closer inspection.

When planning the route from home to specialty bakeries and vegetable markets, speed and efficiency are of no concern.

Movement outside is a precious gift. There is no hurry.

As I think about the “gifts” of this time period that are likely to disappear more quickly than others when quarantine rules become less restrictive, perhaps traveling the long way will be at the top of the list.

Historically, the long way’s track record does not match up well against urgency and impatience. Short cuts emerge.

The long way becomes a forgotten way.

Of course, speed and advancement are valued components of our lives.

But the pursuit of increasingly faster arrivals come with a price too:

Burnout appears.

Overwhelm is enabled.

Simple pleasures are overlooked.

Perhaps the biggest cost? To be pushed to the wrong destination more quickly.

The long way is a timeless route and always an option. Its on-ramp is rarely more visible than it is today.

With gratitude,

-Joe

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