A Truly Civilized Woman


I read those words on a tea bag tag a few months ago and they have been steeped into my consciousness. It doesn’t matter if they are true. I believe them. I am sure I believe many things that are not true. I recall those words each morning as I leave the gym and I am tempted to hurry so I can make the light at the corner of Connecticut and DeSales Street. “A truly civilized woman is never in a hurry” I remember and I slow down. I notice that it is sunnier on the north side of the Street. I notice the aroma coming from a coffee shop and I look forward to the coffee I will have when I eventually get to work.

A truly civilized kayaker is never in a hurry. This weekend I paddled against the tide to the spot where the creek becomes a marsh. A quiet spot where only kayakers, swans, heron and red-winged blackbirds are welcome. I wedged the nose of the kayak against the rocks to anchor myself and sat there for a long time soaking in the sun and the silence. When I was ready, I pushed away from the rocks and pointed the nose toward home. I pulled in the paddles, tucked the buds of my iPod into my ear. I listened to  Loreena McKennit and let the tide carry me home. I didn’t touch the paddles again. I just guided the kayak with the rudder pedals. “A truly civilized woman is never in a hurry” I remembered when the tide slackened and my forward progress slowed.

With my tea bag wisdom in mind everything I do becomes a meditation. Is that what Natalie Goldberg was trying to impart with the slow walking? Now if I can just get Darcy and Arlo to buy into my tea bag wisdom. “Repeat after me, a truly civilized dog is never in a hurry.”

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