I wish that when I got these urges to fly through life, checking things off lists left and right, that I would find myself in this garden (at Tryon Palace in New Bern, NC) where the pathway meanders and one must pause every now and then both to get one's bearings and to enjoy the overall scene. Where one must go slowly and deliberately, noticing the scenery along the way, seeing how the paths all fit into the bigger picture, even while keeping an eye on an idea that's "out there somewhere" - a focal point off in the distance - through an archway or at the end of a walkway - a fountain or statue or other architectural accent.

In my regular life, I occasionally find myself just trying to reach the end without participating in the journey toward that end. Such is the case for me now, with my mom's move made but now settling in requires more things to check off the list. Do this, buy that, get that taken care of and then we can stop and enjoy.

Fortunately, Mom is not making the journey that way. She's settling in but enjoying the ride - meeting new people and doing new things and not worrying too much about an end or focus in the future. She arranges her photographs and then rearranges them and then sits down to admire the surroundings. Meanwhile, I look at my watch to see if I'm late to pick someone up or checking the list to see what we need to take care of next.

I expect we all do this on occasion. There are times we hurry along, head down, bent on the destination, and other times when we stop to watch the butterflies and savor the sunset. Sometimes someone just has to take care of the details. It's my turn to do that right now; she did it for me long ago when I was new to life, to school, to all kinds of things.

And in fact both the flowers nearby and the interesting destination piece are lovely. Each has its own charm. The overall picture with both pathway and far-away focal point is beautiful in its graceful complexity. One would not be quite the same without the other.

But I can go more gracefully along myself, keeping the long view but enjoying the immediate one as well. I hope to remember that all day today.